Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review: A Spring Affair by Milly Johnson

Pocket Books
482 pages
Long gone is the outrageous girl who once dreamed up wild plans with her best friend Deb. Now Lou is a lonely, picked-on woman who no longer realises when she's being taken advantage of - whether by her never-satisfied mother or unfaithful husband Phil.
Then one day she picks up a dog eared magazine and spots an article about clearing clutter, little realising how it will change her life. What begins as an earnest spring-clean soon spirals out of control. The more Lou lets go of, the more light and air can get to those painful, closed-up places at the centre of her heart.
When she meets hunky local man, Tom Broom, she sees her philandering husband in a very different light. But, even with Tom's help, can Lou Winter manage to put the spring back into her step? And who knows where her newfound zest for the stripped back life will take her next?
-Back cover blurb
I happened to read this book just as I was packing up my own things and moving house. It made me realize how tied we can be to material things, especially if there's any sentiment involved. Lou's life is weighed down by her clutter. And as the story evolves, it's nice to see her detach from her current miserable life with every load she throws into the skip.
It's a story that many women can relate to- myself included- where you get bogged down by an unhappy marriage and soon, you no longer recognize the person you've become. You can't help but cheer Lou on as she puts her foot down to her circumstances and the people who clearly take advantage of her. Lou's a likable sort- you'll see yourself or your best friend in her. One endearing trait she has is that she butchers sayings and words, but you know what she means.
All the characters in this book are well drawn. Her husband, Phil is such a cad and bounder that you'll love to hate him. I kept looking forward to his scenes because I wanted to see what the sneak was up to. Tom Broom provides a great contrast to Phil as the sensitive, thoughtful skip man with a sense of humor who sweeps (sorry, pun intended) Lou off of her feet.
One thing the author does really well is provide multiple points of view in the same scene. Knowing how difficult this is, I must tip my hat off to Milly Johnson for making it fluid and seemingly effortless.
A definite feel good book.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Habits Meme

I have to tip my hat off to Cara Murphy, fellow blogger, 'Murf-more than meets the eye!' for this post. I pinched it from her.

Do you snack when you read? If so favorite reading snacks?
Not really, only because I find it hard to eat and hold the book open and turn the pages at the same time.

What is your favorite drink while reading?
Tea, however, it usually has gone cold by the time I get around to drinking it.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
The only books I mark up are self help books. And my weapon of choice is a yellow high liter.

How do you keep your place when reading a book? Bookmark? Dog ears? Laying the book flat open?
I've never done dog ears. There was a time when an official bookmark couldn't be found in my life, so anything would do: envelope, flyer that arrived in the post, post it note...

Fiction, nonfiction or both?

Are you a person who reads to the end of the chapter or can you stop anywhere?
My goal is always to get to the end of the chapter, but my eyes dictate it in the end. If they start closing, I have been known to stop in the middle of a sentence.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
No, I treasure my books, so I take care of them. In high school, my friend Barb M., an avid reader herself, showed me the perfect spines on her paperbacks- she didn't crack them. Since then, I'm conscious of how I open a book and aspire to take great care to keep the spines intact, although it doesn't always work out that way.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
No. But that word will stick with me and I will look it up when I get a chance. I still remember the word, 'moue' from an Elizabeth George novel I read. I had never heard of it before. In saying that, I find that when I read George, I'm going to the dictionary at least once.

What are you currently reading?
The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent by Esther and Jerry Hicks. But I'm dying to read Clodagh Murphy's Girl in a Spin which is on the top of my books at the bedside.

What is the latest book you bought?
Girl in a Spin by Clodagh Murphy and A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time or can you read more than one?
I prefer to read one book at a time if only to give it my undivided attention. I'd never be able to read 2 fiction books simultaneously but I have, in the past, read a fiction and nonfiction book.

Do you have a favorite time or place to read?
Anytime, anywhere. But my favorite is at bedtime, curled under my blanket late at night and knowing that I won't be disturbed.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone?

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind.

How do you organize your books?
First by fiction and nonfiction and then by genre.