Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet

One of my favorite things about vacation (and especially Aruba), is getting to spend a lot of time reading. I'm a pretty big reader as it is...I try to take my train time in the morning for this glorious activity.

Reading is good.

Right now, I'm reading The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford.

Has anyone else read this? I received a couple of recommendations on this, so I decided to give it a whirl. While I don't find myself rushing to read it everyday, when I do break it out on the train I do thoroughly enjoy it.

It follows the story of Henry, a young Chinese-American boy living in Seattle following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In a world where all Japanese are suspected of being spies and are evacuated to internment camps (can we take a moment for the scariness of that statement?), Henry befriends a Japanese-American girl, Keiko. The story switches back and forth from Henry as a boy and as an old man with a grown son of his own.

It's sweet, it's sad, it's educational for a person like me who, I'm sad and sorry to admit, doesn't know very much about this time period in relation to Japanese-Americans. Overall, I am enjoying it!

Questions of the day:

What are you reading now?

How do you find time to get your reading in?

psst...Kimberly's blogging abou the fun parts of unemployment over on The Peach & The Pit...check it out!

10 Books For Your Summer Reading List

Hi friends. I know I've left you hanging with the Book Club page. I'm sorry! Please don't be mad at me. Today I'm coming at you with a whole list of books to read. Will that work for you? I've been slacking on my reading too. Somehow listening to my iPod and playing Scramble have become more interesting on my commute. But I'm ready to pick up some books again.

In a week and a half, I'll be heading to Aruba, so beach reads will be a must. Please send recommendations! Meanwhile, here's my list of must-reads and want-to-reads for the remainder of the summer! Please note that there are more than 10 books on this list, because I included full series as one book. Let's face it, you can't read one in a series without the others!

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

It's my #1 pick for the summer. If you haven't read it, do it today. It's seriously so well-written, such a fantastic and heartbreaking story. I blew through it in a matter of a few short days. Not to mention that the movie is coming out in a couple of weeks. Do it. Please.

The Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins

If you haven't gotten on the train, you really should. When my sister Christine first told me about these books and the general plot, I literally looked at her and asked...why would you think I would like that? But like it I did. Love it, in fact. It's unsettling, romantic and unlike any other book I've read. What more do you want? Oh and in case you've been living under a rock and haven't heard (or just don't scour pop culture sites like me ;)), the movie is coming out next year featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland & Woody Harrelson.

Shanghai Girls, Lisa See

I really loved this book. It was not only the sort of book that I couldn't get through fast enough if only to see how these characters ended up, but I found the historical aspect fascinating. Admittedly, I'm not exactly a history buff, so learning a bit about the China-Japan conflict in the 1930s (even in a fictional setting) was a real bonus. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha, you will probably like this - though this similar story had a bit more depth in my opinion.

Room, Emma Donoghue.

This is another one that I plowed right through. The story of a woman who is kidnapped at 19 and held in a single Room by her captor (so relevant right now with the freeing of Jaycee Dugard!). The story takes place 6 years after her abduction. She now has a 5-year-old son, Jack and the story is told from his point of view. It's unsettlingly mesmerizing. I found the story to be most disturbing when Jack's innocence keeps his mind safe from things that readers just can't ignore.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte


I can't believe I made it through high school without ever reading this book. I'm so glad I did. There's little to no chance that I would have appreciated it then. I totally fell in love with Jane, Mr. Rochester and the antiquated language (that wasn't too over the top). I'm dying to see the remake film that came out earlier this year. Read it. Please.

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

You've probably already heard me talk about this one, but I truly adored this book. It's heartwrenching and captivating. Walls documents her memoir in this book, and she does so with matter-of-factness that is one part endearing and one part heartbreaking. Walls grew up quite poor and as a nomad as her highly intelligent father cooked up get-rich quick schemes and boozed their money away. But her relationship with her father, though tumultuous, is the heart of this book.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson

I'm not going to lie to you. These books did take a little more time and effort than some of the others on this list. It's worth it though, trust me. Earlier this spring it seemed like all of Manhattan (and probably all of the world) was reading this series. Get past the first 50 or so pages in the first book, and you'll be hooked. I was. Oh and the movie is coming out this December starring Daniel Craig (who is pure perfection in casting for Mikael in my opinion), Rooney Mara as "The Girl" Lisbeth (if you've seen the photos of her, all I can say is WOW!) and Robin Wright-Penn (also a fine choice to play Erika Berger). These will keep you busy for a while.

One Day, David Nicholls


I have mixed feelings about this book, but I think it's a worthwhile read. It follows the lives of best friends Emma and Dex for one day each year over 20 years. It's an unusual concept and at first, I wasn't sure I'd really like the flow, admittedly. Somehow, it worked. Even as I read it, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But after finishing, I decided that I liked it. It's not a typical love story. And sometimes that's ok. The movie is coming out soon with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (swoon).

Something Borrowed + Something Blue, Emily Giffin


You simply can't read one without the other. This is perhaps my favorite chick lit series of all time. It's less fluff, more genuinely good story. It follows the lives of BFFs for life Rachel & Darcy. Darcy, the beautiful, fun ones, always gets everything even the perfect fiancee. The book starts with Rachel ending up in bed with Darcy's fiancee (and Rachel's own long-time friend and crush). It will make you laugh, make you cry and make you want to call your best friend immediately.

Bossypants, Tina Fey


This is obviously a totally different kind of book. I'm reading it now. It's definitely not an "I need to see what happens next!" sort of book. But it's light and funny and Fey's humor always makes me laugh (and her outlandish observations make me feel like I'm not crazy). It's a super easy read and I've even found myself laughing out loud on the train to work.

So that's my list for all of you. Next up on my list? Sarah's Key, Dreams of Joy (the sequel to Shanghai Girls), A Stolen Life (Jaycee Dugard's memoir), The Paris Wife, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

What is missing from my list? Please send me your favorite books or recommended summer reads in the comments!