Tomorrow the school buses will start rolling again and psychologically that is kind of the end of summer for me. That, and when they close the pools.
I wonder why I am surprised that the summer went by so fast. Doesn't it always?
I started thinking back over the past few months and what I have accomplished lately. Among other things I've done a bit of summer reading. I've also watched some mindless drivel on TV along with some noteworthy progaming. It has been a summer of healthier eating, and regular workouts. I've tried some new recipes and and cocktails and I've experimented with a few new products and projects with varying success.
I always think it is interesting to see what others are reading, watching eating, and creating so I thought maybe you would like to know what summer recommendations I have for all of you. Later this week I hope to share some recipes, work out hints, and TV viewing suggestions. For today, though, I will concentrate on the books.
So what did I read this summer?
Well, I started the summer with 50 Shades of Grey
Yes, 50 Shades of Grey, it has been "Dominating" book conversations everywhere.
(I just couldn't resist the pun).
I wasn't really sure what I was getting in to when I decided to read it but I didn't want to be left out of the loop so I downloaded it onto my iPad.
This is one of those rare books that left me feeling rather ambiguous. I don't know that I would say I liked the book but then again, it isn't that I didn't like it either. Not very helpful am I? I will say that it definitely had its moments.
You probably already know that this is an erotic novel that delves into the world of bondage, discipline, masochism and sadism.
It is absolutely like nothing I have ever read before. I'm not going to lie, it is hot but after a bit I became desensitized to the sex scenes. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of substance or plot in between them.
There are those that would argue that the book glorifies abusive behavior towards women and others that feel that it celebrates sexual exploration and confidence. I couldn't say where I fall.
I do believe that rape is to be abhorred always. l wonder though if for some women, the kind of women that have been taught to believe that sex is shameful and base, that this sort of role playing allows them to fantasize that their participation is against their will and therefore it frees them to enjoy the act without guilt.
The book isn't especially well written. Some of the dialog between the college roommates is unnaturally wordy and formal and I was constantly having to stop and Google things like genital clamps. Really??? I have apparently led a seriously sheltered life, but if you want to know what everyone else is talking about I would say pick this one up. It is an easy and steamy read. I will also warn you that your husband or significant other will probably ask you to read it out loud.
I would rate it two BeColorful paint palates out of a possible five.
The second book I read this summer was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I went from erotica to more of a who-done-it type read.
I reveiwed this book earlier in the summer and you can read about it here.
The BeColorful rating for Gone Girl was a 4 out of 5.
To change things up yet again I followed that book up with a political read. I was ready for something non-fiction and I chose The Amateur.
As you would expect, this book is a less than flattering look at Obama and his administration. Written by Edward Klein who considers Obama an inept ideologue this work steps the reader through the past four years of the campaign and the Obama White House.
It was released in May of 2012 so it is quite current and despite that it has been largely ignored by the liberal media it has been on the New York Times best seller's list for the past thirteen weeks.
Klein is a conservative writer and there were times when I found it would take a huge leap of faith to concur with his obviously biased conclusions.
That being said, this is a book that looks not just at the man but the entire administration and I found myself agreeing that even though Obama's closest campaign advisers ran an admirable campaign, campaign advisers do not necessarily know how to govern. Yet this is exactly what they have attempted to do in the Obama White House and with less than stellar results.
I was also convinced after reading this book that his inexperience and arrogance have been contributing factors to his lower poll numbers.There were times when I felt that the book was so obviously pandering to the right but there are also some insightful elements such as the fractures between Obama and Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy, the Jewish sector and the Clintons.
The media and the campaign presented us with a much different Obama during 2008 than the subsequent reality of this White House. This book revisits some of the rhetoric and the events of the last four years and in looking back it is frequently easier to see things more clearly and to pinpoint those things we seemed to have missed.
I found the book intriguing despite its bias.
I give this book 3 palates.
Mrs. Kennedy and Me
This is the story of the Camelot years of the Kennedy White House. It is written by Clint Hill, one of Jackie Kennedy's secret service agents and the one that we have seen climbing up on the trunk of the car in photos the day the president was shot
This is not a salacious tell- all kind of book. Instead it is a very private but respectful glimpse into what life was like as a Secret Service agent and a unique vista into the early 1960's White House. The book begins as John Kennedy is elected and carries us through the inauguration, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the birth and death of baby Patrick, Jackie's first encounter with Aristotle Onassis and the president's assassination. It is a story we have all heard but never quite like this.
One of the things that amazed me was how little time Jackie actually spent in Washington during those three and a half years that her husband was president. She truly was a reluctant First Lady.
I also found it disconcerting how we have changed as a nation over the past fifty years. The Kennedy family was obviously extremely wealthy. What fascinated me was that during the Kennedy era their wealth was something that seemed to bring them prestige and respect from the public. They were admired for what they had accomplished and achieved. Dare I say for what they had built themselves? Yet today, Romney's wealth is denounced, demeaned, and scrutinized. Have we really changed that much or is all of this envy, divisiveness and class warfare ultimately altering how we view success?
I absolutely loved this book for so many reasons. One element of the book that intrigued me was the lifestyle of the author during his years as a Secret Service agent. A friend of ours has a son who is with the Secret Service today and has been on the Obama detail when the first family was in Hawaii. I couldn't help comparing the wages, benefits and working conditions of the agents then to the Secret Service today. It is a shame that recent events have somewhat tarnished the reputation of what has been such an esteemed agency.
There are also a number of photos interspersed throughout the book. Some of them were familiar but most of them I had never seen before and they give such insight into the woman, the fashions, and the lifestyle that signified Jacqueline Kennedy.
I hope to get another book read before the summer is really over but if not, this one was a good way to end the season.
I gave Mrs. Kennedy and Me 5 palates.
I would love to hear what books were on your reading list and any suggestions you have to pass along my way.