30 October, 2011

The Secet Lives of Hoarders

Title: The Secret Lives of Hoarders
Author: Matt Paxton with Phaedra Hise
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Library

From Goodreads: The Secret Lives of Hoarders is much more than harrowing tales of attacking the ugliest, dirtiest, and most shocking hoarding cases in the country. It is a behind-the-scenes look at this hidden epidemic- what it means, how to recognize it before it gets out of hand, and how to deal with it.
Through his work with hundreds of clients in the worst circumstances- from the giant "rat's nest" that hid more than $13,000 in cash to a vast cache of cartoon pornography to twenty-five years' worth of unopened mail-Matt Paxton has learned to understand this disorder and his clients' impulses to collect, to speak the hoarders' language, and to reach out to them with compassion and concern while avoiding criticism and judgment. Most important, he guides compulsive hoarders successfully through every step of the clean-up and healing process.
The Secret Lives of Hoarders is an engrossing and sometimes unsettling look at extreme clutter but one that helps hoarders, their families, and their friends to find meaning in the chaos.

What I thought: You know, I can't tell you what drew me to this book. It's most probably the psychology angle. I think in another life I would have been a psychologist - I have always had a fascination with unusual or non neurotypical behaviour. I also love transformation shows and lets face it, the cleaning of a hoarders house is the ultimate transformation! Having said that, because I don't have pay TV, I have never seen Matt Paxton's show Hoarders, but I have a feeling I would like it! What I found interesting about this book is the emphasis on how the clean is not solution. Just because a hoarder's house is clean, doesn't mean you have addressed the reasons why they hoard. Also interesting was the fact that it has not yet been decided where the compulsion to hoard sits within psychological disorders. Many hoarders suffer other psychological conditions such as OCD, depression, anxiety or addiction. The question often is is the hoarding triggered by the other psychological conditions, are those conditions trigged by the hoarding or are they completely separate from one another? Finally, I identified a few traits within myself that are hoarder like. I do let the mess get overwhelming at times, I can find it hard to throw things away. However, in the end, the mess gets to me and I go through massive stages of purging all the junk from my house. Unless these phases end, I think I'll manage to stop it becoming full blown hoarding!

Recommended for: those with an interest in this area or think they know someone who is a hoarder and wants to know how to help.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge,

The Secret Life of Bees

Title: The Secret Life of Bees
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

From Goodreads: Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love--a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

What I thought: This was our book group read for October and although the meeting was yesterday, I didn't get to go due to the fact one of my kids had a surf carnival! I've read it before but was more than happy to do so again. I find this to be such an uplifting book. The characters are genuine, loving, caring people who want nothing more than to help others and live peacefully. The situations they find themselves in are met with determination and a complete lack of judgment of others. More importantly to me, they are mostly women who are strong and self sufficient. Even now I think there is a lack of strong women in our fiction, women our daughters can look up to and admire. The Secret Life of Bees is a story of how differences should be valued, people should be accepted for what they are and how love can change a life completely.

Recommended for: everyone.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, E-Book Challenge

North by Northwestern

Title: North by Northwestern
Author: Sig Hansen and Mark Sundeen
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Library

Synopsis: Sig Hansen is the captain of the Northwestern, one of the crab fishing boats featured in The Deadliest Catch. In this book he looks at his family's Norwegian heritage, how he was raised and why crabbing is in his blood.

What I thought: I love Deadliest Catch and Sig Hansen has always been one of the most entertaining characters. I'm not a big fan of his management style, but I am also happy to admit that I only see what is edited in to the show, not what is left out. The book was interesting, although as I find with a lot of books written with a strong focus on one topic - it did get a bit repetitive. It wasn't a challenging read and gave an different insight into the lives these guys lead.

Recommended for: those who are Deadliest Catch fans.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge,

The Children

Title: The Children
Author: Charlotte Wood
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Library

From Goodreads: When their father is critically injured, foreign correspondent Mandy and her siblings return home, bringing with them the remnants and patterns of childhood. Mandy has lived away from the country for many years. Her head is filled with images of terror and war, and her homecoming to the quiet country town - not to mention her family and marriage - only heightens her disconnection from ordinary life. 
Cathy, her younger sister, has stayed in regular contact with her parents, trying also to keep tabs on her brother Stephen who, for reasons nobody understands, has held himself apart from the family for years. In the intensive care unit the children sit, trapped between their bewildered mother and one another; between old wounds and forgiveness, struggling to connect with their emotions, their past and each other. But as they wait and watch over their father, there's someone else watching too: a young wardsman, Tony, who's been waiting for Mandy to come home. As he insinuates himself into the family, the pressure, and the threat, intensify and build to a climax of devastating force.
This acutely observed novel exposes the tenacious grip of childhood, the way siblings seem to grow apart but never do, and explores the price paid for bearing witness to the suffering of others - whether far away or uncomfortably close to home

What I thought: I borrowed this from the library after hearing the author on the radio talking about her new book which is a sequel to this. Although it sounded like you can read the Animal People without having read The Children, my anal retentiveness over matters such as these would not allow me to do so! Having fallen behind in my reviewing recently, I actually can't remember too much about this book apart from the fact that I really liked it and want to read more of Wood's writing. Each of the characters touched a chord with me and I felt for them as they attempt to deal with each of their personal demons. The struggles as Margaret deals with not only losing her husband, but trying to keep her children close to her and each other, Mandy dealing with the images she has seen as a foreign correspondent and the frivolity she now sees in most peoples lives, Cathy trying to keep the peace across the board and Stephen who really doesn't want to be there. The climax when it comes is sudden, startling and perplexing. It jolts the reader out of the lives of the characters and forces them down another path. In the end, has anything really changed?

Recommended for: those who like good quality Australian fiction.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge,

08 October, 2011


Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Own

From Goodreads: The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater. 
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

What I thought: The conclusion to the Wolves of Mercy Falls. I had this pre ordered, but have taken my time getting around to reading it. I read some not so favourable reviews so have most probably put it off for a bit. Now, having read it, I was quite happy with it. It finishes the series off quite nicely, although I didn't find it as gripping as Shiver and Linger. The intensity of Sam and Grace's relationship just didn't seem to be there in this one, although there is no doubt their commitment to each other is there. As I said, a nice finishing.

Recommended for: those who like their teenage paranormal fiction to have a bit of quality about it!

Challenges:  100+ Challenge,  For the Love of Young Adult Fiction Challenge

03 October, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What are you reading Monday  is hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. Head over and check out what others are reading!

Goodness, I can't even remember the last time I took part in this! I won't bother tracking down what I've finished since my last post, lets just move onto what I am reading!

What am I reading now.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater 

This is the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls. I actually pre ordered it before it came out and was really excited to get it, but then other stuff got in the way and it's taken me awhile to get to it! Oh well, better late than never, right?

So what are you reading? Leave me a link, I'd love to know.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsoon
Genre: Mystery Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

From Goodreads: The Industrialist - Henrik Vanger, head of the dynastic Vanger Corporation, is tormented by the loss of a child decades earlier and convinced that a member of his family has committed murder.
The Journalist - Mikael Blomkvist delves deep into the Vangers' past to uncover the truth behind the unsolved mystery. But someone else wants the past to remain a secret and will go to any lengths to keep it that way.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Lisbeth Salander, the enigmatic, delinquent and dangerous security specialist, assists in the investigation. A genius computer hacker, she tolerates no restrictions placed upon her by individuals, society or the law.

What I thought:   I've put off reading this because of all the hype surrounding it. I knew I would get to it eventually but was in no hurry. The other week while we were at my in laws, we watched the movie. I enjoyed it, it was a great movie, so I decided to bite the bullet and read the book. I've lost count of the number of people who told me it started slowly, but by the end they couldn't put it down. Unfortunately I didn't find it that engrossing. I did enjoy it, but I kept waiting for the point where I was desperate to read the next page and it never happened. I'm wondering if it's because I saw the movie first and knew what was going to happen? I found I spent much of the book thinking about what they left out and what they changed for the movie. I will read the rest of the trilogy, but as for the moment, I'm in no hurry to get to them.

Recommended for: lovers of crime/ suspense fiction

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge, E-Book Challenge