Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another blankety-blank storm and a book

First, the storm. Here's the projected 5-day path of Tropical Storm Gustav:


Yes, of course. Monday. The day we're supposed to unload furniture is the day Gustav is set to wallop us. See the little indentation on the western side of Mississippi? That's us; smack in the middle of the current predicted path of Gustav. Big sigh. I'm soliciting prayers that Gustav will make a nice little jog and miss us entirely.

And, the book . . . The Importance of Being Married by Gemma Townley

This is the first of a trilogy based on Oscar Wilde's plays. Obviously, "The Importance of Being Earnest" is the basis for the story of Jessica Wild, a young woman who befriends elderly Grace Hampton while visiting her own grandmother at a nursing home. Jessica pretends she has fallen in love with her boss and married him, just to keep Grace happy. But, when Grace leaves Jess a large inheritance contingent on proving she is "Mrs. Milton", Jess and her friend Helen cook up a plan to make Anthony Milton fall in love with her quickly: Operation Marriage.

The opening of this book was bizarre and confusing, but once I got into it I enjoyed the fluffiness. And, then it started to get on my nerves. The plot was far, far too transparent and the heroine so dim that I kept thinking about a key-note speech I once heard that was specifically about heroines who are "too stupid to live". This book just didn't work for me. There were a few little quotes that made me smile, though:

Grandma preferred long, turgid books that gave her headaches. [p. 9]

Hesitantly, I pressed a button on the remote control, and my presentation flashed into life. I wanted to spend as long as possible on the first slide -- the one with the title on it -- because it was undoubtedly the best; once it left the screen, things would go downhill all the way. [p. 78]

A little image flashed into my head of Max and I talking for hours, of me making him laugh -- something I'd done only a few times but felt so rewarding because it was so hard -- of him letting me lean against him to get some sleep the day after a late night at the office . . . [p. 192]

The last quote reminded me of one of my greatest joys: those wonderful moments when my husband tips his head back and laughs at something I've said.

My copy of The Importance of Being Married is an advanced reader I just happened across at the library, so some of those quotes may have been changed (I hope so -- it should be "Max and me", shouldn't it?). I read the entire book but it was just too obvious and by p. 209 I'd made a note to myself about the annoying transparency of the plot. I've got to learn to give up on books that don't thrill me, but I was 2/3 of the way finished, by then! I had to plow on.

I'm iffy about recommending this book. If you can handle a wimpy heroine who can't figure out the obvious and you're in a total fluff mood . . . I suppose. But, it didn't do much for me. I have one more book by this author and I'll give her a second chance but I'm going with the 50-page rule.

I finished Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, last night, and loved it. Will try to post a quickie review of that one, tomorrow. And, I'm now really getting into Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate -- the characters are great; this would be a good one for the Southern Reading Challenge.

On this day in Bookfool's Reading History, in 2004: I finished The Underground Man by Mick Jackson and started The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer and The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills.

26 comments:

  1. Eek! on the possible hurricane. My Mom and sister are at Wal-Mart stocking up right now. My Mom is crazy about the weather. Katrina caught us off guard pretty much like most people. I don't think anybody anticpated how bad it would be. We have a couple days to pray for this storm to go away :)

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  2. Hey Nancy! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Super Commenter Award. You can check it out here:
    http://cafeofdreams.blogspot.com/2008/08/super-commenter-award.html

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  3. Hi Nancy,

    I always love stopping in for a visit. Trouble is - I want to stay forever. It's like wandering the aisles of a bookstore.

    Great job and hunker down for the storm.

    Cynthia

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  4. I'm hoping that Gustav really loses its (his?) power and doesn't cause too many problems for anyone!

    I almost always finish books that I start, even if I really don't like them. Sometimes, I've been glad at the end, and other times, I'm mad at myself for wasting time!

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  5. Yes, that blankety-blank storm has me worried! :(

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  6. We're having 103 degree weather today, 106 tomorrow. I am almost (but not quite) envying you your storm.

    And ah, thank you, but I think I'll skip Importance! It would only solidify my rejection of romance novels and I'm getting back into them a wee bit.

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  7. I've gotta admit, I've never heard the words "Grandma" and "turgid" in the same sentence before. And, I LOVE Oscar Wilde! It looks like a fun read. Just right for my days now, when I'm sweating my nuts off. So to speak.

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  8. Brittanie,

    Now is the time to stock up. I didn't think to buy dry foods, today, but we keep a stack of cases of bottled water. Fortunately, I had one of my "strong feelings" about Katrina, so we had plenty of dry foods and water. Plus, I told my husband not to leave town and to tell anyone coming into Vicksburg for meetings with him to delay. Thank goodness he trusted me and advised two people from Virginia to cancel their flights. They would have been stuck for days in that post-hurricane mess. I hope we don't got through that, again!! It was a horror.

    Hi April!

    Thank you! It will be a while before I can pass this award along, since I'm getting ready to leave town, again (and we have a swim meet, tomorrow -- soooo much to do!!!). :)

    Cindi!!!

    I love it when you drop by. You can roam my aisles any time. :)

    I'm heading to Oklahoma, so we'll just get back in time for the joy of being hurricaned -- although, of course, we're hoping it will zig or zag, so we won't have to hunker. We still haven't cleaned up branches from that last storm.

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  9. Laura,

    That's always the hope! Those storms are nasty. At this point, they appear to be predicting a Category 3 Gulf Coast landfall. I'm sure a lot of people are watching the news like hawks and buying their beer (they always show people "stocking up" on beer on the news, here -- so funny).

    I've been working on trying to let myself stop reading a book if it's not working for me, for about 2 years, now. It's difficult!! I don't want to feel like the time I spent reading what I've read has been wasted -- but, really, it's more of a waste to finish a book you don't like, so I'll keep working on it!

    J.Kaye,

    It doesn't look good. I'm crossing fingers and toes and praying. Maybe we'll get lucky and it'll peter out, but it's looking pretty organized so I think that's unlikely. Stupid storm.

    Carrie,

    They do at least bring the temperature down and stir up some wind -- love that. It's just when the storms are too intense or sit on you that they're trouble. A nice little bit of outer band or a little light rain from being on the dry side is always best. If we're hit, that's what I'm hoping we'll get!!

    Importance would not be for you. Skip it. I'm going to start The Last Queen, this weekend, and I know you'll be eager to hear about that one. I read an interview with the author that had me dying to crack the book, but I've got packing to do, so I'll just drag it along.

    Bellezza,

    Why, I didn't know you had nuts! LOL There was a really cute t-shirt I wanted to buy at Target, last year, that said, "Guard your nuts," with a squirrel in defensive posture. It was hilarious. Hubby said, "Don't even think about it."

    If you're looking for fluff, maybe it's the right book for you -- you never know. I hesitate to discourage anyone because we don't necessarily feel the same way about our books, but it hasn't been my favorite fluff read of the year. Still -- turgid and grandma went well together. I loved that line!

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  10. I hope that you and yours make it out ok.

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  11. Oh dear, Murphy's Law! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too!

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  12. Jessica,

    Thanks! It's looking a little better, today -- like Gustav is moving slower than expected. I hope so!!! :)

    Nat,

    Yeah, I hate Murphy's Law. LOL Thanks for the crossed fingers!! It does look better, today. I'm keeping my eyes on that map!

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  13. Yikes! I'll pray you don't get hammered with rain, too.

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  14. Nikki,

    Thanks. We're piling up prayers, here, and watching the map. The prediction of when Gustav will hit the coast has been rolled back a bit! Ask me if I think prayers work. ;)

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  15. Isn't it fun to look back on what we were reading years ago? Bookish nostalgia. Maybe that's what my next Bibliobuffet column will be about. Hmmmmm.

    I'm giving Gustav the finger, by the way. Hopefully it won't anger him further.

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  16. Andi,

    Most definitely. I love perusing my old calendars to see how my taste has changed and how much more I'm reading, now that I don't have little ones.

    Keep giving him the finger. Maybe you'll drive him away!

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  17. I really liked The Importance of Being Earnest--but really--some things should just be left alone. And Yikes--a heroine that doesn't deserve to live? Poor girl. Do women like this really exist? Really?

    Hope you don't drown in the rain!!

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  18. Trish,

    I haven't read The Importance of Being Earnest, yet, although I've seen the (fairly) recent movie version and I thought it was brilliant. So, yep. I agree. I feel that way about old movies, quite often, as well. Why mess with a great thing?

    I think Gayle Wilson was the speaker and by "too stupid to live" she meant, "so dumb she wouldn't survive", not that the type of heroine wouldn't deserve to live. I can't imagine anyone so totally overlooking the obvious in the way that Jessica Wild did, though.

    Why, thank you. Me, too. I also hope I can survive another weekend of dealing with my sister:)

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  19. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and sending out prayers that Gustav veers away, or even better, peters out.

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  20. Thinking of you and hoping that storm bypasses you.

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  21. There's a book festival this weekend near us, so I'm hoping the rain holds off at least until then. I would like one day to have an excuse to sit inside and just read the entire day away ...

    For your sake, I hope Gustav takes a detour or is at least late showing up.

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  22. intriguing .. hey - I have Mississippi roots.. found you thru a google search whilst looking for Sarah Palin stuff and Alaska stuff.. two of my interests of the moment. Take care and happy Labor Day weekend!

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  23. I keep watching the news and hope that Gustav fizzles out before it gets close to you guys! Be safe!!

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  24. Gentle Reader,

    Gustav is so strong, at this point, that I think the only hope is that it will lose steam before hitting the Gulf Coast. I know a lot of people are praying, crossing body parts and going on unexpected vacations, right now! Thanks for the wishes. :)

    Tara,

    Thanks. Looks like we'll have rain by tomorrow. We're just hoping Gustav will fizzle a bit, now! :)

    Lesley,

    A day of sitting around reading is a great thing till the power goes off and you're sitting around in a 90+ degree house. LOL I hope your book festival isn't rained out!! Happy reading. :)

    Thank you. I think we'll be getting the outer bands, tomorrow, but hopefully it won't be raining too much when we unload. That would just be a nuisance!

    Shelby,

    You have to have Mississippi roots with a name like Shelby (my son has some friends with that name -- it's very Southern and I love it!). We went to Alaska, a couple of years ago, and I get the Anchorage Daily News updates. They're really fun reading. They'd been wondering if Palin was a possibility for VP and I thought, "Naaaah, no way." Surprise, surprise! Thanks for visiting my blog!!

    Les,

    That's the hope now. We're crossing fingers and toes for a big fizzle. At this point, it's so strong that I think that's the best hope everyone has, along the Coast. I bought battery-powered fans, today, knowing there won't be any available at home, by now. I also got the batteries for them and some dry foods -- we're okay on water, since I keep a stack of bottled water during hurricane season.

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  25. Hopefully you won't get too much fallout from Gustav. Since I'm a Midwesterner, I really have no idea how bad a hurricane can be. Of course, we do have tornados, and those scare the bejesus out of me!!

    Did you know that Gemma Townley is Sophie Kinsella's sister?? I think Sophie has more talent. I've read a couple of Townley books. They were ok.

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  26. Stephanie,

    It looks like Gustav is petering out nicely. We've got some wind, here, and it will rain (tornadoes are also a possibility) but it's definitely not as bad as it could have been. Wahoo! We're happy. :)

    Yes, I did know that Townley and Kinsella are sisters. Just judging from this one book, I'd say Kinsella is the better plotter, yep. There are always some surprises in her books and I enjoy them. I'll give Townley one more chance. But, just one!!!

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