Book Chat

The Fault in our Stars“The Fault in our Stars” was not a book I originally intended to read. My high school daughter read it on the recommendation of friends. I put it on hold at the library, but she borrowed it from a friend before it came in. Then it did come in, and I just couldn’t “waste” my hold, so I began to read. Even though she cautioned me: “Mom, it’s a teenager book!”

Well. I had been a teen longer than she had, so I took that as a challenge and continued. I’m glad I did. It’s the tale of two teens, both of whom have cancer. So a large part of it is depressing, but it’s also motivating and cheering. How? The two main characters are so smart and intellectual without being annoying (I kept thinking, where were these people when I was in high school? Heck, when I was in college? My whole life could have been different!).

Hazel and Augustus form a bond based on the cancer experience they both share, but it becomes much more. They both despise the many cliches cancer patients face: “God needed another angel,” etc., and they’re very aware of “cancer perks” like folks letting them cut in line.

All kinds of quotes in this book that you have to just let marinate for a while:

We are as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we are not likely to do either.

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.

It is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves.’

My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.

It’s hard to do this book justice in a couple of paragraphs, so you just need to read it. It’s billed as a YA book, but I think most people would enjoy it – even if they’re not teenagers :).


Independence Day DiMarco Graduation“Independence Day” is a great gift-type book for graduates. It is author Michael DiMarco’s advice to grads about going out into the world, and being … independent.

This was a nice, quick read. It’s not profound, but is more like what you might expect to hear in a commencement speech — full of standard good advice.

Recommended if you’d like a positive, motivational book for all the grads who invite you to their open houses in a month or so …

Thanks, Revell, for a copy to review.


Ethan Frome Wharton
Every time I read a classic, I immediately wonder why am I reading any current lit? It just can’t stand up to it. I felt that way again after finishing “Ethan Frome.” I don’t think I’ve read anything by Edith Wharton, although I think I saw the movie “Age of Innocence” years ago but have retained very little of it. I had read a comment in a recent newspaper article praising the writing in “Ethan Frome,” so I picked it up.

I am so glad I did. The premise: imagine you’re Ethan Frome, an impoverished 28-year-old living in a bleak Massachusetts village in the 1800s where apparently it’s winter all year round. You take care of your sick dad. He dies, and then you take care of your sick mom. She dies, and then you’re stuck with your apparently-chronically ill (or maybe just lazy?), disagreeable wife. One day, her orphaned niece comes to live with you to help out, and you find yourself drawn to her cheeriness. Later, you realize she likes you as well, and yet. You’re a decent guy. Can you abandon your complaining wife? But she’s kicking the girl you love out of the house, and she has no place to go. What to do, what to do?

Well. I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say this reminded me a bit of Romeo and Juliet … just when you think things can’t get worse … guess what? They can!

Highly recommended. Beautiful language, symbolism out the wazoo, just … read it.


The Hunger Games Collins“The Hunger Games” — reviewed here.

5 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. I might try The Fault in Our Stars now, you’ve piqued my interest – I think a lot more adults are reading YA now anyway!

  2. I think if I see or read one more thing about the Hunger Games, I may lose my latest meal! I AM SO SICK OF IT! If the money that was spent on attending this movie had been spent on eradicating real hunger, the world would be a lot better off! Rant over!

  3. Love the quotes from “Fault in our Stars”–may have to find that one on audio.

    Elain: Ditto (nothing personal Susan–I loved the way you wrote about it.)

  4. I have to add The Fault in our Stars to my list – sounds good!
    LOVED Ethan Frome – I had to TEACH it cold (never read it before) when I student taught seniors years ago – and thoroughly enjoyed the storyline.
    I admit I immensely enjoyed the Hunger Games – pure entertainment/page turners! 🙂 Not demanding much of the intellect, yet not terribly written as some YA novels are! 🙂 Unfortunately the first one IS the best one but the other two are still fun to read!

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