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review 2018-04-30 22:18
The Dirty Book Club / Lisi Harrison
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison

M.J. Stark’s life is picture-perfect—she has her dream job as a magazine editor, a sexy doctor boyfriend, and a glamorous life in New York City. But behind her success, there is a debilitating sense of loneliness. So when her boss betrays her and her boyfriend offers her a completely new life in California, she trades her cashmere for caftans and gives it a try. Once there, M.J. is left to fend for herself in a small beach town, with only the company of her elderly neighbor, Gloria, and an ocean that won’t shut up.

One afternoon, M.J. discovers that Gloria has suddenly moved to Paris with her friends to honor a fifty-year-old pact. And in lieu of a goodbye, she’s left a mysterious invitation to a secret club—one that only reads erotic books. Curious, M.J. accepts and meets the three other hand-selected club members. As they bond over naughty bestsellers and the shocking letters they inherited from the original club members, the four strangers start to divulge the intimate details of their own lives… and as they open up, they learn that friendship might just be the key to rewriting their own stories: all they needed was to find each other first.

 

Probably a three star book with regards to writing & plot, but I really enjoyed the female friendships so I’ve bumped it up by a star.

Younger readers may not appreciate the revolutionary nature of the older women’s dirty book club—both the claiming of their sexuality and the realization that societal expectations didn’t need to define their lives. In a world where women are told that a marriage is a greater achievement than a good career and where there is still a double standard for men & women’s sex lives, we may still require a bit more liberation.

I had great sympathy for M.J. who lost her entire family to a car crash. My parents were killed in a similar way and I remember finding refuge from my feelings at work. I was able to go in, put my head down, and not think about my personal life for 7-8 hours, a big relief. I also remember that other people were ready for me to be “back to normal” far sooner than I was. In fact, I had to build a new normal—you can’t go back to the old normal, those people are gone. So I identified with her submersion in her work and with her heel-dragging with regards to change.

This book illustrates one of my guiding principles—men come & go from my life, but my female friends are my bedrock. We don’t have to agree on everything, we can argue & fight without wrecking the relationship, but when the chips are down we can count on one another. We can talk out our problems and be sounding boards for each other. I can live without a man in my life, but I can’t live without my circle of women friends.

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text 2018-04-12 19:19
TBR Thursday
Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
Unbuttoned : a History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life - Christopher Dummitt
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami
Lion in the Valley - Elizabeth Peters
Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey
Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Høeg,Tiina Nunnally
Tithe - Holly Black
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices - Xinran

My TBR pile has got a bit out of control!!

 

First ones due at the library are Heir to the Empire, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and Unbuttoned.  There are also holds on Smilla's Sense of Snow and Tithe, but those dates are further away.  Plus The Good Women of China is an interlibrary loan, so I will have to pay attention to it.

 

Heir to the Empire, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Magic's Price are all part of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project, which I am enjoying getting back into.

 

My guilty pleasures are Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peacock, I want to see what you're doing in Egypt this time) and Tithe (Holly Black's world of the Fae is calling to me).  But neither of them will count towards any of my reading challenges for 2018.

 

My other task for this weekend is to take a load of books to the used book store to trade and to sort out books to donate to the Calgary Reads Book Sale which will happen in May.  I've got to find some boxes that I can part with to pack, too.  (And then in May I'll attend the book sale and undo some of the good that I have done for my bookshelves).

 

I've also got to bake something to go to brunch on Sunday--I'll probably either make a tried-and-true Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (http://www.lazyglutenfree.com/2013/06/gluten-free-cinnamon-swirl-banana-bread.html) or I'll try an experimental Pumpkin Pie Crumble (https://www.calgarycoop.com/cooking/pumpkin-pie-crumble). 

 

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

 

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text 2018-04-05 16:16
TBR Thursday
The Awakening of Miss Prim: A Novel - Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Corvus - Harold Johnson
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami
The Dragon Reborn - Robert Jordan
Unbuttoned : a History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life - Christopher Dummitt
Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn

So, I skipped ahead in my reading queue last week and read two "just picked up books" instead of what had been sitting by my reading chair for a while.  (Burn Bright and Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?)   As a result, four of these books are repeats from last week's TBR post.

 

Finally, Unbuttoned has arrived at my library!  Mackenzie King is one of the most intriguing Prime Ministers that Canada has ever had.  He never married, he was devoted to his mother and his dog, and (as the book blurb tells us) he communed with ghosts and cavorted with prostitutes.  Plus he left detailed diaries which let us in on all the weird details. (Never trust someone else to burn your journals!)  There's been a long wait-list for this one and its available for me at the library!

 

Also, there are two more titles for my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project--The Dragon Reborn and Heir to the Empire.  Its great to be getting back to this project a bit more seriously and there's some fun reading ahead.

 

What else is new?  Well, I bought a new toilet last night.  I've been meaning to get one that would use less water for some time now and a notice from my condo management company got me moving on it.  My current toilet was one of the originals when the building was constructed (1979) and some of them apparently have flaws which occasionally cause catastrophic failures.  They are urging us to change them out asap.  So, I have a date with a plumber on Monday. 

 

Have a good weekend, everyone!

 

 

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text 2018-03-29 19:09
TBR Thursday
The House at Baker Street (A Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson Investigation) - Michelle Birkby
Vlad: The Last Confession - C.C. Humphreys
The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman
The Awakening of Miss Prim: A Novel - Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Corvus - Harold Johnson
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami

A couple of hang-overs from last week:  The House on Baker Street and Vlad : the Last Confession.  They'll move to the top of the pile, as will The Amber Spyglass, because it has holds on it at the library.  Its my PopSugar challenge book for the "Childhood Classic You've Never Read" category.

 

Two books are about books and/or librarians:  The Awakening of Miss Prim and The Dirty Book Club.  They will both count towards book challenges as well, plus they sound like a lot of fun.

 

Corvus is a book by Harold Johnson, who will be a guest of honor at this year's When Words Collide conference here in Calgary.  I try to read something written by all the guests of honor before the conference, which takes place in August.

 

And, last but not least, another entry in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project:  Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami.

 

I've got at least two Easter celebrations to attend, requiring a bit of driving, then I've booked myself the Monday off as well.  So, two days to get my house in order, a bit of laundry done, and a new toilet purchased to be ready for the plumber the next week.  Not sure how much reading will take place, but I have no doubt that some will.

 

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

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review 2017-10-08 20:13
Missed the mark
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
When I read the blurb for The Dirty Book Club, I was intrigued by the premise, and when I started reading, I found the beginning both engaging and promising. Sadly, that fizzled quickly as I found less and less to like about main character, MJ. 
Let me add that each of the characters have their flaws and that's okay. I didn't expect them to be perfect and several times, I've found the flawed characters in a story the most endearing. That was the case with the 1960's book club. Not so much with the modern day club. 
MJ is rather disconnected from living life and that's understandable considering the the loss she's suffered. She throws herself into her career to keep from dwelling on that loss, which is also something the reader can empathize with and understand. As time goes on, MJ's long distance love interest, Dan, tries to convince her to move across the country so they can be together. This is where my problem with this character began. Things don't go as she's planned in her career, so she heads to California and to Dan. She then spends most of the story waffling between wanting to be with Dan and wanting to run back to New York and her job. Indecision, I can understand. She's spent considerable time on her career, but it came across like Dan was nothing more than a backup plan, the second choice. More than once, she asserts that she gave up her career and sacrificed for Dan, when that isn't the case. She gave up her career because things didn't go her way. She didn't get what she wanted, so she fell back on the second choice. Basically, I found her whiny and petulant, and I spent most of her story wishing Dan would wake up and send her packing. 
The other characters in the modern day book club weren't exactly likable, but at least they did have some wit and even some charm about them. 
 By the end of this journey, I found the letters from the 1960's book club to be the most interesting parts of the story and the only modern day character that I really liked or rooted for was the good and giving doctor, Dan.
I will say the the author is talented and writes well, but this one completely missed the mark for this reader.
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