Sunday, January 2, 2011

Water, Marilyn, and Death

My first books of 2011 are making my heart palpitate! I love them, well, two out of the three.
The books from 2010 I've yet to finish are dragging. Boredom is not something that sits well with me. So, The Shack and Eat, Pray, Love are officially sidelined. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I'm reading on the train to work. Loving it! Naked In Death, I finished and will discuss at another time on another blog.

I digress. I bought three books for MYSELF the other day. I had some Borders Bucks to cash in and I used them all on ME! SQUEE!

FRAGMENTS, Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe~ Edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Glory In Death by J.D. Robb

Let me explain the second J.D. Robb purchase.  A little birdie told me, here on this blog, that the series really picks up after the third book.  Pretty soon I will be a blogger on a Romance and Mystery site and this is part of my research. That's another thing I will discuss later. Super stoked about that. Not super stoked about the first pages of the second book.

Water for Elephants was on my to-read list for 2011. When I saw the trailer for the movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, it immediately pulled me in. It moved the book to the top of my list of books to buy. I love anything Depression Era but when you use the circus as a backdrop, you had me at Dumbo. 

Gruen breaks all the rules we read about as Aspiring Authors, all but one. She tells one heck of an amazing story. I noted an overabundance of the word WAS, telling and passive phrases, dialogue tags like I said or he says, and it opens with a PROLOGUE! A prologue that is a flashback. BAH to that agent intern who turned her nose up as such literary devices and the authors that use them. I guess this must be terrible writing too.

Anyhoo, I laughed out loud reading the first chapter, wanted to cry in the second, and now that I am in the third I can't seem to stop reading. When Gruen described the music in the prologue and said the "tuba farted", I snorted, twice.  Who doesn't laugh when they see the word fart? This man's journey starts with a stampede and a murder, fast forwards to him in a nursing home, then goes back to his journey on The Greatest Show On Earth. I can't wait to finish it. Below is a photo from the book, different photos open each chapter.

Fragments, a simple title that illustrates not only the prose within but the author's life. Marilyn Monroe has been an icon of mine since I was a tweener. There was something about her that I admired, something in a photo that spoke of her vulnerability, gorgeous and undeniably tragic. I often described her as tragically beautiful, something my head just blurted out when reading about her. It was hard for me to understand how someone with such beauty could truly believe she was ugly. Through the years I have read different things about her, never the conspiracy theory type stuff.

This book caught my eye when Christmas shopping and couldn't wait to snatch it up. Marilyn/Norma Jean reveals who she really was. Her own words and the words of those closest to her portray the avid reader, learner, poet, and actress. In it is a letter to Mr. Strasberg while in a psych ward, her thoughts about self worth, and poetry about loneliness. The words make you feel as if you are sitting on a sofa with her, chatting about life in general. This is a fragment from one of her poems. "Only parts of us will ever touch parts of others..." Lovely. I can tell this is a book I will be picking up time and again. Below is a letter written in 1956 to Lee Strasberg. It just made me really sad.

What are you reading? What do you plan on reading this year?


  1. Hi Charli~ I'm reading Christine Feehan's Dark Melody right now. I have a TBR list that's long and I work my way thru it. After I finish this book, I want to get the latest JR Ward and Cherry Adair. Happy New Year to you! And best wishes for a successful writing year.

  2. I mostly only read romance or mystery. I don't care for non-fiction. Occasionally, I read bios, but not often. Not very well rounded, am I? LOl.
    I had to read so much I hated in college, that I decided to only read what I liked in my free time, and books with happy endings are my choices. I don't want to cry or feel sick when I finish a book. I call them the Oprah books, yuk.

  3. Sheri, great list!

    D'Ann, I never read non-fiction. But this written by one of my icons. Love the sadness, the beauty, the side of her few got to see. Water for Elephants I never would've picked up had I not heard people talking about it. Loving it! I read all sorts of things and love a good cry, laugh, and smile in what I read. I've stepped out of my safe zone in what I read and am so glad I did.

  4. I just started Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear. This correlates to my response to your question about what we read in 2010. Bear's book is the second of three sequels to Isaac Asimov's outstanding Foundation series.

    In addition to that, I've been hoarding Ben Bova books over the past few months in preparation to meet this brilliant veteran writer at BaltiCon in May 2011. I'm starting with As On a Darkling Plain, a first edition I found at a local used book shop. After that, it's the Orion series, then the planetary books (Mercury, Jupiter, Mars Life, etc).

    Then I'll return to the Foundation for the final follow-up, David Brin's Foundation's Triumph.

  5. I love knowing what other people are reading...makes me want to check out the titles. I am not a sci-fi reader but Pguinta you are piquing my curiousity!

  6. These sound like some great books! I plan to read more YA and MG to learn more about "my" genre, LOL~!

  7. I live with a YA. I cannot write nor read it at the time, lol. But I love to know what you're reading then I buy it for the tweener. She's reading Fallen right now.

  8. Telling a killer story is the best idea. I'm currently reading SHIP BREAKER. It's fab.

  9. I'm glad to have found your blog. I loved WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, it's probably one of my favorite books of the past few years (and so of course I can't wait for the movie). I'm sorry to say I didn't like THE SHACK. I did at first, but then it sort of veered in a different direction and it lost me.

  10. Elana, killer yes! Love the smell of murder on the pages. Hee hee. Or is that bacon...

    Jennifer, thanks for finding us. Glad to find you too and congrats on your debut novel, Creep. Love me some murder.

    Hey, you and Elana are debut authors in 2011...I smell a guest post or interview...

  11. Hello, Charli Mac. Thanks for the follow. I am following back. It is good to meet you. If it isn't always obvious whether I should follow, I dig a little deeper. When I saw hair metal mentioned, as well as West Side Story and Casablanca, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.
    Have a great week.


  12. Hi Charli: Thx for dropping by my blog and becoming follower No 300!

    I started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo today. I loved Eat, Pray, Love. I've joined up with the 100+ book reading challenge and aim to read even more than that!

    I'm currently reading (as well as the ...Dragon Tattoo) a Michael Connolley, a Cathy Kelly and one by a fellow blogger, Alex J Cavanaugh..:)

  13. i've got water for elephants and girl with the dragon Tattoo on my to be bought list, but otherwise,i'm really trying to spice up my reading list this year with more YA

  14. I started reading Eat, Pray, Love. But then I made the mistake of watching the movie and I can't get Julia Roberts out of my head.

    I will have to check out those titles! Always looking for something new to read.

    Right now I'm reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen.

    Happy reading!

  15. You really have me interested in FRAGMENTS. There are always facets to movie stars we miss if we just watch their movies.

    Marlene Dietrich spent three entire years on the front lines, entertaining the troops in WWII ... with a death sentence on her head from Hitler, for her having turned down his lucrative offer to go back to Germany to make films for her native Germany.

    Thanks for writing such an entertaining, informative, witty blog ... Roland