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Books

A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Phillip Sendker, a FLTW Book Club Pick

A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Phillip Sendker

 

A Well Tempered Heart

I just finished reading A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Philip Sendker which is February’s pick for From Left To Write virtual book club.  I think you’ll laugh at the irony of how I came to read this book: Last year Thein-Kim (of FLTW) and I met Jan-Philip Sendker at a party at BEA, Book Expo America.  Kim was familiar with the author because the club had read his other book, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. I somehow had missed reading that book and since I’m always keen to connect with an author at a party, I tagged along with Kim to say our hellos. We made our niceties and as Kim and Jan-Phillip chatted I found his German accent and his personality appealing.  In a party of suits and ties, his suit was pretty appealing as well; he looked like a priest.

Anyway, as I listened to the two of them reminisce about The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, I felt like perhaps A Well Tempered Heart might make a nice addition to the books we read at the book club I host at work.  Kim and I chatted about the first book and I thought that perhaps I would need to read the first book before picking up the second.  I was disheartened because I know how busy my reading schedule gets and I doubt if I would have time to read a backlisted title. Onward and upward!

Imagine my surprise the next day as I’m roaming the conference floor at BEA and I come across Jan-Philip’s book signing booth!  The night before Jan-Philip and I had spent a few moments chatting about traveling or Germany or Austria or something which left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling, although it could have been the wine.  I stood in line to secure a signed copy of the book and what do you know, he remembered me and called me by my name! I was smitten all over again.

A Well Tempered Heart

Can you read his handwriting?

It says For Pam! I hope you will like it! yours jPS

Isn’t that great?  With those memories freshly unearthed I plowed into the book; fearful that, based on my chat with Kim, that I might not be able to follow the story because it’s the second in the series.

How pleasantly surprised I was.  Reading about Julia reminded me about my own wanderlust; always seeking that next adventure, that next place to discover a bit of myself in other foods (mostly) and cultures.  Kind of like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love without Javier Bardem and all her  whining.  The first item of business was to discover where Burma was (it’s in SE Asia near Thailand and now called Myanmar).  The second was to discover what a longyi was.  It’s an item of clothing , much like a sarong, that’s worn by both sexes, although for the life of me I cannot figure how they stay on!

But back to wanderlust. Perhaps it’s a romantic ideal but the thought of living longer than 6 weeks in another country is appealing.  Especially given that we are having a very snowy winter in the Northeast, my thoughts think of nothing but warm climates. I’ve heard it said that in order to truly appreciate something, you should live in another country for longer than a week to 10 days.  I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that: I lived in the Southern Czech Republic for approximately 6 weeks.  I traveled in and around Prague and some of the smaller provinces, learning Czech (difficult), accidentally learning German (easier than Czech), and immersing myself in their culture by devouring Czech writers:

  • Milan Kundera
  • Karel  Capek
  • Josef Skovercky
  • Jaroslav Hasek

Since I’d grown up as a musician I was already familiar with Czech composers Dvorak and Smetana but developed a deep love for Smetana’s symphonic poems Ma Vlast, which means my country.  When my brain needs quieting, these musical pieces sooth my nerves and settle my need to wander.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to Burma. I hear it’s not too safe to visit and I’m sure they don’t carry Zyrtec there for my allergies but you never know. Thailand is nearby; and “we are responsible not only for what we do, but also for what we fail to do.”

So there’s that.

Have you ever lived in another country?

 

This post was inspired by the novel A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker.  Feeling lost and burned out, Julia drops her well paying job at a NYC law firm. After hearing a stranger’s voice in her head, she travels to Burma to find the voice’s story and hopefully herself as well. Join From Left to Write on February 4 we discuss A Well-Tempered Heart.

Categories
Adult Fiction

Gone Girl Movie?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware that Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, has been a best seller for like two years.  In a row!  I stumbled upon the book thanks to my friends at From Left To Write book club.

Gone-Girl-by-Gillian-Flynn-198x300

Gone Girl was my first foray into modern psychological thrillers and boy was it a punch in the gut! Here’s my review. I have mixed feelings, however, about the book becoming a movie. I’m not sure it’s something I can relive again.

Fortunately, I may not have to, because thanks to many articles floating around the web, I’ve learned that the author has rewritten the ending.  Is that good or bad?

Plus, I’m not a big fan of who they cast in the movie.  Ben Affleck as the husband? Nah, too old, and too, well, unremarkable.  I just saw that Doogie aka Neil Patrick Harris will be playing Desi Collings in the movie. I’m all like, who is playing whom?  I also just discovered that Tyler Perry (we know and love him as Madea) is also in the movie.

I’ll tell you what Gillian, you were smart to hire Tyler Perry.  Whenever Amy stars acting up, Madea can come in there and set everything in order.  Or at least bring some comic relief.

 

madea tyler perry

 

Oy.

What do you think? Will you see it?

 

Categories
Books

Quick #BEA13 Recap: The Black Count

I realized I haven’t done my BEA recap so for the next few weeks I’ll post my pics of books and authors I met.

The Black Count

Here I am with the smart Tom Reiss.  I read The Black Count back in the fall as part of the From Left to Write online book club.  The book is about Alexandre Dumas, pere, as they say.  The father of the man who wrote The Three Musketeers.  To be sure, AD had his own very exciting life and was also a writer.  Here’s my review.

I probably frightened Mr Reiss to death because I told him that as a trained librarian, I am forced to check the references of the books I read.  I was glad to tell him that his references checked out.  He screamed and ran away from me!

Not really.  But he was a super smart guy and if his people are listening right now, I would LOVE to review The Orientalist.  (call me)

Categories
Conferences

#BEA Recap

Book Expo America was tons and tons of fun.  As I’ve said before, I laid Gotham to waste.  There was so much to see and do during the day that it hardly seemed fair that there were also fun parties to attend at night! If you’ve been following my Tweets or my FB page, you’ll know that I had the PLEASURE of stalking meeting a few of my fave authors.

I’ve compiled a collage of some of the authors and characters I met while at BEA.

PammyPam

Not sure who is who? There’s

  • John Green (Looking for Alaska)
  • Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah Plain and Tall)
  • Chris Colfer (of Glee fame: new book coming out in July)
  • Capt Underpants
  • Olivia
  • Actor and author Bob Balaban (Creature from the seventh Grade: coming out in Sept )
  • Jerry Pinkney (Caldecott award winning illustrator!)
  • Anouk Markovits (I am Forbidden)

And that’s just a few of the snaps that make sense! I can’t wait for BEA 13!!

 

 

Categories
Books Reviews

Girl Gone – From Left to Write

It’s From Left to Write Book Club day and once’d again I’m doing a video review! YAY!!  I happen to know for a fact that thousands ok many ok a few enjoy my video reviews.  I like being able to express myself this way and sometimes a video review feels right!

So, we read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Here’s my review. Don’t hate me cuz I did it one take.  (i know right?)

 

In case you missed the book cover in the vid cuz my camera cat has bad aim, here it is

This post is inspired by mystery thriller GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. They may not have the perfect marriage, but after Amy goes missing, Nick becomes the number one suspect. Can he discover what happened before it’s too late? Join From Left to Write on June 12 as we discuss Gone Girl. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

I give it 4 paws for a pure thrill ride from start to finis!

Categories
Books

Book Review: I am Forbidden – From Left to Write

For the May, From Left to Write offered us a chance to read

I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

As I struggled to gain control of my thoughts,

I thought you might appreciate watching.

So here are my thoughts on video.

I apologize in advance for the many movements of my head.

Close your eyes, listen to my voice, or imagine

you and I are sharing a cup of coffee

and discussing this book.

Thanks for viewing!

This post is inspired by I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits. Though not sisters by blood but through their Hasidic faith, Mila and Atara views the rules and structure of their culture differently. Mila seeks comfort in the Torah while Atara searches for answers in secular literature she is forbidden to read. Ultimately each must make an irrevocable decision that will change their lives forever. Join From Left to Write on May 8 as we discuss I AM FORBIDDEN. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
Categories
Conferences

Did I mention I’m going to BEA #BookExpoAmerica

In case you’ve missed the announcement, I’m definitely going to BEA this year, woot!

To celebrate this momentous feat, I’m joining Crazy for Books in her

Book Blogger Hop to find other bloggers who are going.

I am SO excited to be going this year, I wasn’t able to go last year

and this year, not only am I going, but I’m rooming with

the fun Thien-Kim From Left to Write book club!

You’ll know me cuz I’ll be running all around like a kid at Disney World.

I hope I get to meet EVERYONE!!

Are YOU going?

Let’s meet up.

Woot!

P.S. when you see me do NOT hand me coffee, chocolate, a puppy or a kitten.