Not quite there.. moving on to Breaking Dawn

I started reading Nights in Rodanthe with rather high expectations but I found this one a good read but nothing spectacular.  After all the raves, I think I was even a tad bit disappointed that the story was a bit predictable.  Maybe it was because I was familiar with how The Notebook developed — that I knew there was a twist in the end. 

The “flashback” style of narration also sort of gave you a hint of the ending, as you see who is not in the picture at the start — so something must have happened later.  A light read, something you would want to take with you to relax with, but I missed the wow factor.  No tears for me although some said they cried.. like where? And why?

Moving on, I finally started reading Breaking Dawn today.  Athough I had come across a spoiler that essentially gave the whole story away, I am still very excited to finally complete the (in)famous Twilight Series.  I have read about how some were disappointed by the author’s treatment of the story which brings the series to a close, but as author Stephenie Meyer wrote in the FAQ:

“When I publish a book, I know that it’s not going to be right for every person who picks it up. With Breaking Dawn, the expectation was so huge and so intense that I knew the negative reaction was going to be especially bad this time. In the end, it’s just a book. No book—or album, or movie, or tv show, or any other kind of entertainment—can answer to that level of expectation. Oh, it might do it for some people, it might be exactly what they were looking for. But there’s always going to be another group who was looking for something else.”

I am reading the book with the only expectation of getting to the end of the saga.  It is, after all, a work of fiction, and I’m giving Stephenie Meyer every artistic license to tell her story the way she sees fit.  I have been immensely entertained by the first three books of the series, and I am reading on with the goal of nothing but being entertained further — and reading about Vampires and teenagers, you have to keep your expectations reasonable.  I’m keeping it at that.

From Esme to Rodanthe

I’m sitting eleven storeys above Avenue of the Americas while watching a new episode of LIFE, trying to finish a letter to my friend Fe, and eyeing my next book.

I finally finished The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, and I must say the last quarter of the book redeemed the rather slow development of the story in the beginning.  I actually could not put it down as I waited to get to the end as a twist in the plot unravelled which brings the story to a tragic end.  For all the negative reviews I had stumbled upon before opening the book, I found myself agreeing with the praise I read about this novel of Maggie O’Farrell’s.  It was a bittersweet ending when Esme finally found redemption and justice in her own way.

I was planning on getting a copy of Breaking Dawn this weekend at the Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue, but I got an e-mail today that my copy which was on backorder by the book club has shipped. 

I figure I’ll read something else as I wait, and I picked my first Nicholas Sparks novel, Nights in Rodanthe.  I’ve long heard of the best-selling author but had never gotten to reading his books — just as I know of James Patterson or Jodi Picoult but have never read any of their novels.

Sparks caught my eye when I had this interesting conversation with this lady who was in line in front of me when I went for a Joel Osteen book signing event practically a year ago today (click this link to read that post).  She was from another state and was in New York accompanying her daughter who had successfully bagged a role in one of the musicales playing then, and besides the charismatic Joel Osteen, she was a fan of Nicholas Sparks and she recommended I try reading his book.

I had watched the movie, The Notebook, and if they had remained faithful to the way the story developed in the novel, then I had an idea what this new acquaintance of mine had meant when she said his novels “had heart”.

I actually have both Nights in Rodanthe and The Lucky One, but I thought I’d try the former first because of the movie.  I’ll probably get to the other one after I finish Breaking Dawn..

Between books in the Twilight Series and reading Esme Lennox

I don’t like reading book reviews because I hate spoilers.  I don’t like to read a book with the bias of a critic who might have a totally different take on whatever the author wrote.  By some reason, I ended up reading one of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox which didn’t take to the book too kindly.  In a sense, it made me set the bar a little lower, so I’m doing pretty good, although it doesn’t have me as hooked as Stephenie Meyer has.

I still haven’t quite decided about picking up a copy of Breaking Dawn while I wait for my backordered book club copy.  I have been reading Meyer’s Midnight Sun (a mini-novel retelling Twilight from Edward  Cullen’s point of view) between reading through Esme.  I was disappointed that Meyer has decided not to continue writing Midnight Sun because a copy was leaked online without her express permission.

A 264-page draft in PDF format is available on her website. (The file is downloadable but not printable.)  It is best read after Twilight because then you get to relate to what you are reading in a more concrete sense.  But for those who are curious about the hoopla surrrounding the Twilight Series, the mini novella is a good way for one to be introduced to Meyer’s writing style.  I am actually enjoying it.

The View 56 floors down

I’ve been sitting atop a building 56 stories above ground level.  I would love to go down and just lounge around but that’s not going to be easy with everything going on.  Plus, I’m not particularly all energetic today.  I’m staying put.  I can spend the afternoon just staring out the window and I wouldn’t be able to make up my mind about which side to concentrate on.  The view is just breathtaking.

I came to the city without any book in tow although I had already listed myself as reading The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.  I haven’t quite started reading yet, having just finished Eclipse, the third installment of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series.  My copy of Breaking Dawn, the last and final book, is currently on back order, and I’m still debating with myself on whether or not I should pick up a copy at the Barnes and Noble branch a few blocks away on Fifth Avenue before hopping on the Express Bus heading home, or if I should wait it out.  That’s the reason I’m starting a new book instead of pausing in wait.  I really would much rather wait so I am hoping Esme will be entertaining enough to hold my Twilight craving at bay.

I want to keep my reading momentum going so that I can make up for lost time, so to speak.  I have always loved to read, and in the past two to three years, I have always lamented how I have failed so dismally to do it regularly.  Now I’m on a roll!  And our office move to Manhattan in a few weeks should make it even easier for me to grab bestsellers from the shelves of the Mid Manhattan Library off of Fifth Avenue right on 40th Street.   (Time to revive my free membership!)

I haven’t felt this envigorated by my reading exploits in a very long time.  I feel like I’m making up for all that I missed in the past couple of years.  I am learning to set aside time to read again which I am beginning to realize should have not been all that difficult from the start.  I guess it’s a matter of prioritizing, too.  Now that I so thirst for the stimulation it gives me and I have come to miss it so much, it has helped put things in perspective, and I have prioritized reading as part of my “me” time.

I was tempted to pick up more books to read but I reminded myself that I have quite a list of unread books on my shelf as it is.  So I am holding off on any more until I get on with what I have.  On my way home now..

Getting on with the Twilight Saga

I have been so deep into reading that I failed to write about how I found Twilight (Book 1) and New Moon (Book 2) before getting on to Eclipse (Book 3).  I am just so thrilled that this is the third book I’ve read in two weeks while reading Witch of Portobello in between.  (As you can see, I’m struggling through this one although I’ve somehow managed to read halfway through the book.)

It didn’t take me long to realize why the series has taken on a cult following.  People (including myself) are waiting with bated breath for the release of the movie opening in theatres Nov. 21.  Although I am already halfway through the third book and looking forward to the fourth, I’m already wishing Stephenie Meyer decides to continue the series beyond the original 4.

They fell in love, they parted, and now they’re back again.  You have the continuing struggle of good vampire vs. the bad vampires and mix in some werewolves in the plot — and you’ve got me hooked. 

I couldn’t wait for the arrival of my book club version of the second book — so I ended up buying a paperback copy (which I have released through BookMooch now that I’m done with it).  The fourth installment, Breaking Dawn, is already out but is on backorder with my book club.  I am hoping it gets to me by the time I finish Eclipse or I will need to get a paperback again.  

Edward and Bella… Forks.. definitely a good read.. now let me get back to Eclipse..

Five minutes to midnight..

and I’m rushing through a quick post just to proudly proclaim I have finished reading TWILIGHT.  Don’t expect me to write about it, though, because it’s one of those days when I can’t wait to lay my head on my pillow.  I just had to give in to this nagging thought that finishing a book (finally!) was cause to celebrate.  There is hope, after all, to read and read and read some more.

Unfortunately, my copy of NEW MOON hasn’t shipped.  (I actually activated book club memberships to get these two books and a few others at 20 cents each.)  Fetching the link above from author Stephenie Meyer’s site actually unravelled a bonus:  the first chapter is available online!  Alas that’ll have to wait until tomorrow because I am exhausted.

12:01.. time to sleep. I don’t have the stamina to go through night after night of sleep deprivation.  Working through a stressful day doesn’t help. If I get a break I’ll share my thoughts on Twilight tomorrow.  Don’t expect a book review, though.  It was an enjoyable read.. can’t wait for the second installment.


I received my first two books of the four-book Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer, “Twilight” and “Eclipse“.  (I know, I know… Eclipse is the third in the series, coming after “New Moon“, and before Breaking Dawn“.)

I first heard of Twilight from Toni Tiu’s Wifely Steps when she wrote about this a year ago.  Although the book is classified as recommended reading for 12 year olds up, a shared fascination for these characters of the occult with Alan has led me to add this to my reading list, and I am hoping to finish the series before the movie is released this November.  (Click here for a clip with Stephenie Meyer talking about writing the fourth book from Barnes and Noble.)

Twilight, The Movie shows promise — something a lot of fans who follow the series are looking forward to.  I’ll let you know how I liked the book once I’m done with it.


I’ve always loved to read.  And I have been complaining that I haven’t been doing enough of it, but the last three days, I’ve been stealing time to read Robert T. Littell’s book on his friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr., THE MEN WE BECAME.  I’m almost done reading and expect I’ll be done by tomorrow if not tonight.

It’s a quick read which sees you hearing the story from the point of view of one of the long-time friends of this Kennedy icon.  Littell and Kennedy apparently met at Brown University where both men went to college.  It’s a bestfriend talking about the other friend sometimes fondly, and at times so painfully honest you see that JFK, Jr. was indeed human after all.  There are a lot of personal anecdotes which told simply and straight from the heart gives you a glimpse of many private moments in the very public life of JFK, Jr.

There are no cliffhangers or scandalous revelations — it’s just a buddy story, but something we can relate to.

Up next?  I might go and read THE WITCH OF PORTOBELLO by Paolo Coelho.

The Books on my Desk

I see this pile of books (which I’ve photographed upright below) on my desk everyday and I am overcome by a sense of longing to read more and read more.  I wish.. =)  Some of these I’ve actually started reading, and some are still on my reading wishlist.  Funny how most wishlists are of books that one wants to read but hasn’t purchased yet, and mine are books I already have but just can’t get down to reading.

So just to give you a peek into my tiny library here on my credenza which, incidentally, doesn’t include the stack of unread books in my tiny bookshelf at home, here’s what I have and hope to read.  This is sort of my personal “report card” where I can hopefully tick off some of the books (eventually) and move on.

* BRUSSELS AND ITS BEAUTIES – more of a reference material for my Belgium Scrapbook.  (So maybe this shouldn’t be on my list?)

* Dr. ATKINS’ QUICK & EASY NEW DIET COOKBOOK by Robert C. Atkins MD and Veronica Atkins – So I thought I’d do the Atkins diet but I have yet to read the book. 

* THE MEN WE BECAME (Robert T. Littel) – The Kennedys have always been a fascinating subject matter to me and I have read at least one book on the late JFK, Jr. and I attended the book signing and launch of an anthology of essays and writings by his sister Caroline, THE PATRIOT’S HANDBOOK which, incidentally, I have yet to open.  (Too precious.. it’s a signed first edition!)

* SELLING IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS by Johnson Shaivitz – Now one thing I have known for a long time now is I cannot sell.  I’ve always said the skills I have are better suited to helping others to sell.  So we’ll see.

* MARKETING OUTRAGEOUSLY by Jon Spoelstra – This is a book I think will suit a friend who was a boss in a previous life.  So MAYBE I will read it, or not.

* MONDAY MORNING LEADERSHIP by David Cottrell – Sounded like a novel idea — picked up from the boss’s mailbox.

* FREAKONOMICS by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – one of the bestsellers that actually got Alan reading (which is a feat in marketing!  He always wants me to read and tell him all about it.. LOL).  I’ve actually read around 4 chapters of it and it had me hooked but it’s not a light read and should be a book you will read when you’re ready to “listen”.  Otherwise you might be awed by the analysis given, but then you won’t remember it and be able to use it.

* THE WAY OF THE BULL by Leo Buscaglia –  An author introduced to me by Gina (again) and someone whose work I had followed by reading many of his books.  This is one work I haven’t read yet and which I will hopefully get to soon.

* TEACH YOURSELF FRENCH in 24 HOURS by Dr. William Griffin, part of the Alpha Teach Yourself series – This is a book that “fell out of the sky,” left behind in Alan’s office by the person he replaced 5 years ago. The title is a little decieving because it is a lesson in learning to speak French spread out over 24 one-hour sessions one is supposed to do progressively, and not in one day.  I’ve gotten as far as lesson 4 and I learned a thing or two but have to go back to reading and doing it.

* THE WONDER OF BOYS by Michael Gurian – a book I picked up during one of those Barnes & Noble sales which I picked up because of my little tyke.  It’s supposed to help us understand raising boys and doing a better job of it.

* THE WITCH OF PORTOBELLO by Paulo Coelho - which would be my second book after reading THE ALCHEMIST.  I gave a copy of this  book to my friend Gina who has introduced me to some good reads and authors I’ve learned to follow since.

Reading right now…

There’s this growing pile of books I hope to read on my credenza at work which, sad to say, hasn’t been moving. I am actually more consciously trying to read more — the thing is, I’m still not reading as much as I would want to.

Some of these I had picked up at online booksales at my favorite Barnes and Noble, and two or three were acquired as “freebies” at work — required readings at conferences I did not attend, but from which the boss got extra copies of these books. (Okay, I confess, a free book is a freebie I can NEVER say no to.). And there are the books that just fall from the sky…(Translated: sent to the boss but which the boss tossed away.)

So for starters, I’m “creeping” through the pages of my Canterbury Tales, although I expect I will move through it faster once I get to the “tales” as I’m still at the introduction of the pilgrims. There are so many books out there that I want to read but I cannot get to them without first attending to my reading backlog. I feel guilty getting new books when I have so many reads waiting.

I’m trying to resist the urge to pick up anything new until I have read at least 6 books beginning with Canterbury Tales. So I guess if I do want to get any new ones, I better start reading in earnest.