Sunday Sentence, May 18, 2014: The Husband’s Secret

The best of what I have read this week come’s from The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty:

The Hubby Secret

“A red traffic light loomed, and Cecilia slammed her foot on the brake. The fact that Polly no longer wanted a pirate party was breathtakingly insignificant in comparison to that poor man (thirty!) crashing to the ground for the freedom that Cecilia took for granted, but right now, she couldn’t pause to honor his memory, because a last-minute change of party theme was unacceptable. That’s what happened when you had freedom. You lost your mind over a pirate party.”

From The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Sunday Sentences, May 4, 2014: One More Thing

The best of what I have read this week comes from this collection of stories:

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From No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg:

“It’s funny, isn’t it?” said Nana. “You have infinite time here, and there are infinite things to do, but you still don’t end up doing much of it. You do what you love most, over and over.”

From Julie and the Warlord:

“Flour is probably the least unhealthy thing I can think of in chocolate cake,” the warlord continued. “Is that supposed to be the point? That the whole cake is just all eggs and sugar and butter? And anyway, who cares? It’s chocolate cake. We know it’s not a health food. Use whatever ingredients you want. All it has to do is taste good. We don’t need to know how you did it–just make it.”

From Kellogg’s (or: The Last Wholesome Fantasy of the Middle-School Boy):

“Fate, to me, simply means that all the billions of microscopic actions we can’t calculate lead to consequences that feel right because the are right.”

From Kindness Among Cakes:

CHILD: “Why does carrot cake have the best icing?”
MOTHER: “Because it needs the best icing.”

 All from One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories
by BJ Novak

Sunday Sentence, April 6, 2014: Hollow City

The Sunday Sentence is “simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.” author David Abrams.

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“Walking down to the water’s edge, I tried to picture myself the way my new friends saw me, or wanted to: not as Jacob, the kid who once broke his ankle running after an ice cream truck, or who reluctantly and at the behest of his dad tried and failed three times to get onto his school’s noncompetitive track team, but as Jacob, inspector of shadows, miraculous interpreter of squirmy gut feelings, seer and slayer of real and actual monsters–and all that might stand between life and death for our merry band of peculiars.”

From Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Sunday Sentence, March 30, 2014: The Happiness Advantage

The Sunday Sentence is “simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.” author David Abrams.

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“We think: If I just get that raise, or hit that next sales target, I’ll be happy. If I can get that next good grade, I’ll be happy. If I lose that five pounds, I’ll be happy. And so on. Success first, happiness second.

The only problem is that this formula is broken…

Thanks to this cutting-edge science, we now know that happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result.”

From The Happiness Advantage
by Shawn Achor


Sunday Sentence, March 23, 2014: The Swan Gondola

The Sunday Sentence is “simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.” author David Abrams.

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“That was the first time I lost her. I would come to lose her again and again.”

From The Swan Gondola
by Timothy Schaffert






Snotty Literati Reviews The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

donna-tartt-the-goldfinch-book-coverWe like big books and we cannot lie! Well, some big books.

Take a peek before reading Donna Tartt’s almost 800-pager, The Goldfinch, and see if it’s worth your time.


Sunday Sentence: February 23, 2014

The Sunday Sentence is “simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.” author David Abrams.

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“What his son, Marty, never fully understood was that deep down there was an Ethel-shaped hole in Henry’s life, and without her, all he felt was the draft of loneliness, cold and sharp, the years slipping away like blood from a wound that never heals.”

From The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford

Sunday Sentence, January 5, 2014

The Sunday Sentence is “simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.” author David Abrams.

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I couldn’t pick just one. Or two. Or even three.

“They bred dogs for everything else, even diving for fish, why didn’t they breed them to live as long as man?”

“I stood back of the new garden watching the sun touch the mountains and ruddle the turned dirt and the threads of water and I can say there was something moving inside that resembled a kind of happiness.”

“It caught me sometimes: that this was okay. Just this. That simple beauty was still bearable barely, and that if I lived moment to moment, garden to stove to the simple act of flying, I could have peace.”

“One thing about everybody dying is that you don’t have to use the designated runway.”

“Grief is an element. It has its own cycle like the carbon cycle, the nitrogen. It never diminishes not ever. It passes in and out of everything.”

“The flakes stuck in my eyelashes. They fell on my sleeves. Huge. Flowers and stars. They fell onto each other, held their shapes, became small piles of perfect asterisks and blooms tumbled together in their discrete geometries like children’s blocks.”

“Why don’t we have a word for the utterance between laughing and crying?”

“Amazing how not having to kill someone frees up a relationship generally.”

 All from The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Sunday Sentence, December 29, 2013

Borrowing this idea from author David Abrams: The Sunday Sentence is “simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.”

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“And yet they hardly thought of each other as friends. They would never have designated someone as a best friend or a next-best friend, or joggled people around in these positions, the way girls did. Any one of at least a dozen boys could have been substituted for any one of these three, accepted by the others in exactly the same way.”

From The Love of a Good Woman: Stories
by Alice Munro

What I Read in 2013: The Best, The Worst, The Meh


  • Not all of these books were published in 2013; they are just the books I read during 2013.
  • I wrote reviews for some these books, or I teamed up with my fearless reading friend Jennifer Spiegel and wrote reviews under our stage name: Snotty Literati. Whenever there’s a review, I include the link. Whenever there’s not, I don’t.
  • I had a goal of reading 40 books this year. I ended up with 36. Not too bad.
  • If you have read any of these and loved them, tell me! If you have read any of them and hated them, tell me that, too! Really. If you have any that you think are must-reads for next year, pony up! Quit being all secretive and everything. Geesh.
  • I read some of these books for Snotty Literati columns, some for my book club, some for Book Bingo (say what? Read about that here), and some just because.


The 10 Best Books I Read in 2013

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007). There’s a lot of bullying going on in our schools. I won’t say this is the definitive fictional account of what can go wrong when adolescents are young and misunderstood. But it does provide a bit of light. Asher is a YA author to watch.

9. Still Life by Louise Penney (2008). This little mystery gem came as a recommendation from the famed The Poisoned Pen bookseller. I needed a book seller’s recommendation for my Book Bingo game and this delightful mystery set in fictional Three Pines, Quebec fit the bill. Better yet, it appears to be the first in a series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache stories. Nice up-sell, Poisoned Pennery… I will be back for more. 

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008). Let’s just say I never thought I would read this, let alone have it appear on my top 10 list. Jennifer wouldn’t have read it either. But we read it and it was like book crack. We reviewed it and we watched and reviewed the movie, too. But with the number of books we had to read this year, we had to pace ourselves and push Catching Fire to 2014. These are the real struggles of readers and reviewers.

7. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (2013). If you grew up in the 70s and 80s this is the book for you. Summer camp, friendship, envy, secrets and assholes–it’s all in here and it’s really well written.

6. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (2007). I just finished this book today, checking off another box on the Book Bingo sheet. Sarah’s Key is historical fiction covering the brutal arrest of 10 year old Sarah, her mother and father during the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup in France when Jews were taken to their deaths as a part of Hitler’s master plan. Sarah escapes, but not before her fatal mistake is realized. Captivating.

5. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943). I should have read this book before 2013. Despite this, it completely resonates 70 years later and could stand to be The American Novel. Snotty Literati loved it to pieces.

4. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2011). I love Ann Patchett. If I ever write a book, I would want to write on like this. Even though the ending left my Book Club split and Snotty Literati completely at odds. You can get into the thick of our conflicting opinions here.

3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013). This is the book Jennifer is going to wish she read. If you fancy yourself a reader, read it. If you have an e-reader, even better. It’s a whopper at 767 pages, but worth it.

2. The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012). This gem won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. You can trust the National Book Award people. They are good people. And even though I don’t always love Erdrich’s books, The Round House is a winner.

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (2012). Despite the troubling lack of proper punctuation in the title, I am picking a comedy for this year’s top prize. Comedy never wins when competing with drama, and I think it’s actually harder to pull off. Bernadette is clever and witty and smart. The author wrote for Arrested Development and Mad About You. And don’t let the chick lit cover fool you. This is for smart women AND men to read. What? Woah. I know.

The Worst I Read

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Moby fans, I just don’t get it.

Tenth of December by George Saunders. So many critics loved this book. Saunders fans, I just don’t get it.

The Meh…

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. This was my first Didion, and will likely be my last. Too detached for too personal a subject. I felt like this was published because she was already an established writer, but not because it was particularly good.

That’s all I have. Peace, love and books!