July 11, 2009

Saturday Review: 3 Mini-Reviews

A Memoir of Jane Austen: And Other Family Recollections by James Edward Austen-Leigh
BOOK #: 54
REASON READ: Because Jane Austen Rocks? Yeah, pretty much that. :)
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
GENRE: Biography/Memoir
RATING: 4 Stars

James Edward Austen-Leigh is the nephew of author Jane Austen. He states his reason for writing the memoir in the first chapter:
I am the more inclined to undertake the task from a conviction that, however little I may have to tell, no one else is left who could tell so much of her.
While her nephew did not have much to say on her contribution to the literary world or her connection to other writers or any fleeing fame she might have garnered (she preferred anonymity), he did have a lot to say on her character, her and where some of her ideas for her stories first came to fruition. He talks about how Jane's visits to cousins in Bath helped her learn Bath's topography and customs, which she drew from to write Northanger Abbey. He shares a poem Jane wrote for a dear friend named Mrs. Lefroy, whom died on her birthday in 1804. Austen-Leigh also shares correspondence from Prince Regent and others who suggest she alter her style of writing. I found the memoirs a quick read, but an informative one. I liked how he shared some intimacies of Jane's life that few others would know, including the sound of her voice. If you are an Austen fan, I recommend it.

Fibromyalgia for Dummies by Roland Staud, M.D. with Christine Adamec
BOOK #: 55
REASONS READ: I have fibromyalgia and read as much as I can about it. I review it here because I know several others who have FMS read these reviews and because it is important for others to understand this syndrome. I also selected it for my Triple 999 Challenge. It was also on my Summer Reading List.
PUBLISHER: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
GENRE: Reference; Health, Mind, and Body
RATING: 4.5 Stars

I think that this book actually offers something for both the newly-diagnosed patient and those who have an intermediate understanding of fibromyalgia. What I liked about it from an intermediary standpoint is that it gives a little more information than the regular 'What is Fibromyalgia' books. It goes over how FMS affects men, children, young adults, middle-age, and the elderly differntly. It goes over lifestyle changes like 'controlling the one-eyed stress monster'. :) It also goes over how to figure out which foods might be trigger foods, in other words, foods that aggrevate FMS symptoms. My favorite section was 'Helping Someone You Care About Who's Hurting' which I recommend to all of those who have a loved one with a chronic pain condition.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
BOOK #: 56
REASONS READ: What's in a Name? Challenge, Genre Reading Challenge, Summer Reading List
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
GENRE: Fiction
RATING: 4 Stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. There were many aspects I loved, but also plenty I did not care for. I liked Fermina Daza. She was a strong female character and I respected her in the book. I did not care for her lover, Florentino Ariza. While he is superbly romantic and I adored the romantic, almost poetic way he saw her and loved her, Ariza simply doesn't have a head on his shoulders and is lost in the clouds- permanently. He probably could have married Fermina if he had been able to offer her anything but a fairy tale love. Sweet, romantic, but like the author suggests, his lovesickness is like an illness- like cholera. One of my favorite lines in the book is when Florentino says to Leona when she says he is not the man she is looking for. He says "We have killed the tiger," meaning of course that there is no more sexual tension between them. Love that. It was a nice love story, but I think I would have liked it more if I had found some way to respect Florentino. Even all his physical pains and the emotional pain of seperation from Fermina did not endear me to him. Overall, it was a good book though and clearly Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a gifted writer. His descriptions were enough reason to read the book.

Other Reviews of Love in the Time of Cholera:
Shelf Love

Other Books By Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
Leaf Storm (Novella)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Autumn of the Patriarch
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Living to Tell the Tale
Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Other "For Dummies" Books for Health Include:
Diabetes for Dummies
Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies
Medical Terminology for Dummies
Basic Ab Workout for Dummies
Stretching for Dummies
Dance Workout for Dummies

Jane Austen's Books Include:
Pride & Prejudice
Sense & Sensibility
Northanger Abbey
Mansfield Park


  1. The Austen memoir sounds fascinating.

  2. I was totally smitten by Cholera. But, recommended it to a couple of friends and both had the same reaction as you.

  3. bermudaonion- It's really interesting if you want to know more about Austen herself.

    Claire- I have known many who liked it and recommended it to me. Different people react to books in different ways. It's not that I didn't like it, I just wasn't smitten, I suppose. But I bet there is a book or two that I've been smitten by that you have just liked or did not like. It's interesting how we can both really like one book, and have different reactions to another one, isn't it?


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