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The Nearly Reader

My life in (mostly) books

Just feel like screaming

Tuesday night and this week has already been too much. My husband and I were out of synch most of the weekend, now we are in battle against the Man aka various US beuractic offices....then I got no sleep last night, walked into work to the news that a co-worker in the agency has died very suddenly. 


The good part of the day was I was able to take some time to head back home to vote. So there was that. I didn't think I was going to manage it.


Now I need some sleep.

The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb

From Goodreads: 

In The Hour I First Believed, Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.

When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary -- and American.

The Hour I First Believed is a profound and heart-rending work of fiction. Wally Lamb proves himself a virtuoso storyteller, assembling a variety of voices and an ensemble of characters rich enough to evoke all of humanity.


The Hour I First Believed was a reread for me. I originally read it when it was first published (around 2009?) but I couldn't remember much. I couldn't even recall whether I had thought it was a good book or not.


So I reread it. And it took forever. And I was heartbroken to find that it was NOT what I had been expecting from the guy who wrote She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True...two novels that appear high on my list of favorite novels.



The novel starts out okay. It is clearly about a rocky marriage, one that has almost been shattered beyond repair...but maybe will work out. Then tragedy hits and sets of a trajectory of a whole slew of tragedies. 



Then, on top of the disasters...we are presented with a whole host of subplots and uninteresting characters that just do not add anything to the novel. If anything, they just add into the confusion. I guess it made sense. Eventually. But yeah, it was mostly a disaster. It started with so much potential, but in the end, it left me completely unsatisfied. No true feels for any of the characters.


The one teeny detail that did warrant that extra half star was that Wally Lamb wrote Dolores in as a very minor character towards the end. As I have loved She's Come Undone since I first read it back in high school, I was excited to see her again. I love that Wally Lamb tied in She's Come Undone and This Much is True but sadly, it was too small a gesture in an otherwise yawnworthy tale.



Still Here

In case you thought I disappeared off the face of the earth, never fear. I am here. I had a horrible week at work, and had no time for anything else. I'm absolutely exhausted right now, despite sleeping 11 hours last night. I think I'm going to go take a nap.

My Day

The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb

My husband had declared that today he is spending the day cleaning. As his way of cleaning drives me insane he has told me to spend the day in our bedroom away from the chaos.


I'm not complaining. I'm perfectly happy laying in bed reading and watching Gilmore Girls. I have a huge cup of coffee, and a glass (or two) of wine in my near future.


 Now as long as I can keep my head off of the mess that is the rest of the apartment, this will be a perfect day.

A wee bit obsessed

I recently discovered just how awesome MASH is, I watched the entire series on Netflix and was heartbroken when Netflix chose to take it off. 


On Monday before work I wandered onto Amazon and figured I'd check out Alan Alda's memoirs. Next thing I knew, I had bought both...As well as the MASH novel the whole series/movie was based on. That will tide me over until my husband buys me the series for my birthday.

Winter is Coming

— feeling confused

This past winter was an unusually mild winter, unlike last winter where we had a snow storm on a weekly basis...we hadn't even gotten six inches altogether the entire winter. As someone who hates winter, and snow especially...this winter was a true blessing.


Then April hits, the month where life starts to creep back, and instead we get buried under a blanket of snow.


I am not amused. I didn't even bother taking the obligitory snow shots of the Delaware River.


Too bad I'm working, I should totally be hibernating. 

Every Day

Every Day - David Levithan

From Good Reads: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.




To be honest, I could probably just leave this picture and be done with this review, because this sums up my feeling exactly. 


But I won't.


I loved Every Day. From the first page to the last, I was absolutely captivated by this story. It was completely ridiculous...I mean, being a new person, in a new body every day? Yeah, totally ridiculous. But it worked. I have no idea how the fuck it happened...but somehow this novel was perfect. 


Up until this novel, the only thing I had read by David Levithan had been Will Grayson, Will Grayson which he cowrote with John Green. I had actually really liked his part...but not enough to rush out to read more of his work. In fact, I have no idea how long Every Day languished on my Kindle before finally deciding to give it a chance. I fully expected to find it totally ridiculous.


I'm excited to see that there are two novella's that accompany Every Day. I'm tempted to rush out and buy them right now and read them both in one sitting...but I'm worried that they will take away from how much I loved Every Day. I'm scared they won't live up to it, or that the magic will be gone and I'll be left disappointed. 



Along with that, I'm debating internally with myself whether I'd like to see a movie made based on this. I think that it would be an awesome idea, but then again...how many truly amazing books were absolutely murdered by Hollywood? 


I am awarding this book five out of five stars, something I rarely do but I truly feel it deserves such high praise. Without a doubt it was my favorite book I read this year, and only the second book I awarded five stars to.


Today was Not Productive

Last night my movie night saw me awake until three in the morning. 


Yes, you did read that right.


And the only reason I was up that late watching Scandal was because I was waiting for my husband to come home.


Needless to say, today I have been good for nothing. Aside from making some mac and cheese, I have spent the day in bed watching Scandal. I should nap, I probably will nap. Tomorrow starts my work shift, and I won't be home until Wednesday night so I was hoping to get stuff done around the house...get some reading done. But instead I'm way too involved in the life of Olivia Pope.


At least I feel a little justified in spending the day in bed as we got the first(and most likely last) snowstorm of the year here in the Catskills. 

Head's Up!

If you have a Kindle and are still working though Robert Galbreith's detective series, they are today's Kindle Daily Deal.



Movie Night!

As I spent so much time yesterday reading and since I became a leeking widow today (yeah, don't ask) I decided to settle down in front of Netflix to watch movies and drink wine.


The first movie I chose was a movie that I've roughly seen 500 times....My Girl. Words cannot begin to explain that deep setted love I have for that move. Even though it makes me ugly cry every.single.time.I.watch.it.



After I recovered from the old heart break, I decided that it was finally time to face my fear and watch Erin Brockovitch.


Okay, let me back up and explain...back when the movie was in theaters, my movie loving Mommom went to go see it...except she never saw it as she suffered a heart attack before getting to her seat. She lived, but never quite recovered. Ever since the incident, I avoided watching this movie out of pure ridiculous reasons. 


I'm glad I finally found the courage to watch the movie as it was kick ass. I loved Erin Brockovitch and I truly reconsidered (for the hundredth time) whether I should be taking some law classes or something. The urge strikes about every six week or so so that seems right on schedule. But anyway, I completely fell in love with the movie and I'm glad that I finally watched it. 



(I think I laughed way more than is actually appropriate)


Now I'm watching (or finishing rather), The Nanny Diaries. This is another rewatch, and nowhere near my favorite movie but when I started it I just wanted something mindless to have on in the background. 



I think the next thing on my Netflix queue is Scandal...so I suspect that soon I'll be under Olivia Pope's spell. Hopefully I'll get around to reading at some point. *grin*




Aww, I miss having a job where I didn't have to be in until the afternoon...