October 18, 2012

a literary confession & a review (or two!)

This review is a few weeks behind... but isn't that true about everything?
Yes...what if the present is just a reflection of events that actually took place several weeks ago?
Hmm? My philosophical ramblings aren't fooling you into buying my excuse for simply writing a late book review? It was worth a shot. 

Well I since my spontaneous library outing, I have actually finished 3.5 of the 5 books I checked out, travelled 1,000 miles in a jetplane with two of them, and have only accrued $4.50 in late fees to date!
To that I say to myself, "Self, I am impressed!". 

You observant-types may notice only four books are actually featured... the fifth I may or may not have omitted out of embarrassment.

It's probably not what you're thinking... involving fifty shades of something or other...
No, it was a small paperback titled, Keeping a Journal You Love, by Sheila Bender.  

Yep. I do confess that after keeping journals for over two decades I often struggle with wanting to rip out every page and throw them away. While creative writing has been second nature to me since I learned to spell, I have always lacked confidence in the one place that my skill level shouldn't matter- writing my own story. When I stumbled across this book at the library I figured I couldn't be the only one who felt this way, if there was an entire publication dedicated to the topic. Still, I was immediately embarrassed to be reading something so cheesy and self-helpy, especially when I keep an online journal of sorts that perfect strangers are able to read. I can't really explain why I didn't want anyone to know I was reading it except out of fear of what people would think. 
Oh silly self. 

Reading Keeping a Journal You Love put so many of the things I've felt over the years into perspective and addresses each moment of hesitation and self-criticism with equal doses of practicality and grace. The author uses examples from other writer's personal journals to present a variety of styles and techniques readers can use, no matter how big or small their audiences may be. If you have ever felt insecure about journaling or writing about your personal life- even if you know no one else will ever read it- I suggest flipping through this book. It's short, easy to follow, and gives great insight into taking your reflections to the next level. 

Thanks for letting me spring that one on you. I feel lighter already.

Now onto the reason I started this post... a review on Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle.

Overral: ***

What I loved:  quirky characters, romantic NYC and European settings, hints of French culture, art history trivia, a quick and easy read, and interesting enough.

Not so much: Predictable and somewhat flat. In the book's defense I read this immediately after finishing The Hunger Games series so the thrill-factor was a bit overshadowed. The story takes place in the nineties which isn't a particularly romantic time period, the male author used a lot of awkward words that female author's typically don't (broad, bosom, etc.), and it ended somewhat abruptly like the author ran out of time.  

As lots of other reviewers have said, I would recommend it as an airplane read but it won't keep you on the edge of your seat with anticipation. I do however think it would make an entertaining movie! 

. . . 

Happy reading!



  1. Concise review! That's exactly how I felt about it...good airplane/beach read, nothing groundbreaking.
    Curious about what you think of The Reader, if you get to it - I loved the movie, but haven't gotten to the book yet...

    1. Yes! Thank you for the recommendation! I definitely enjoyed it and hadn't heard of it before. I am just about to start The Reader! I just finished The Gilly Salt Sisters which was fantastic if you're looking for a new book! :)


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