Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Revisited Challenge)


Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories By Truman Capote | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Truman Capote’s
Release Date: 1958

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 978-0679745655
Hours: 160
Source: Harris County Public Library 

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Reasons for Reading: Initially, I listened to this novella on audiotape. I enjoyed how more than one actor read different parts in the story. However, I considered Elizabeth Ashley of “Evening Shade” fame an odd selection for the voice of Holly Golightly. Nevertheless, I never reviewed this Truman Capote classic. When Breakfast at Tiffany’s won in the Revisited Challenge, I read a printed version.

Summary: An unnamed narrator befriends his enchanting neighbor, Holly Golightly, in the autumn of 1943. Holly insists on referring to the narrator as “Fred” because he reminds her of her older brother. “Fred” and Holly live in apartments in the same brownstone which is located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Holly is only a eighteen or nineteen year old girl from the country. Yet, she’s turned into a cosmopolitan darling of cafe society. Holly holds no job and maintains her lifestyle by socializing with wealthy men. These men take her out on the town and shower her with money and expensive gifts. Author Capote called Holly an American geisha.

One Thing I Learned from this book: I saw the film before I read the book. I was surprised that the events of the book took place in 1943-44.

What I Liked: I liked the narrator’s tone throughout the novella. As a reader, I felt his warmth and affection, especially towards Holly Golightly.

What I Disliked: Yet, I wasn’t quite comfortable with this American geisha lifestyle.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 


Song: 
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (3/9) Movie CLIP – Moon River (1961) 

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Anna Godbersen’s Bright Young Things Series


The Bright Young Things Saga by Anna Godbersen | Harris County Public Library Online Catalog

The Bright Young Things Saga by Anna Godbersen | Harris County Public Library Online Catalog

Title and Author(s): Bright Young Things; Beautiful Days; and The Lucky Ones by Anna Godbersen
Release Date: October 12, 2010; September 20, 2011; November 27, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 006196266X; 0061962686; 0061962708
Pages: 400; 368; 384
Source: Library

Reasons for Reading:  When I finished The Luxe Series, I wanted to read more Anna Godbersen. Upon hearing of a new saga set in the 1920s, I quickly requested the first book – Bright Young Things from the library.

Summary: Beginning with a prologue voiced in the first person, this narrator recalls the last summer of the Roaring Twenties. The narrator mentions three young ladies – one who became famous, one who got married, and one who died. Then, the saga leads the reader to two best friends. Orphaned Cordelia Grey leaves a boy at the alter with her best friend, Letty Larkspur (Letitia Haubstadt), and escaped their boring life in small town Ohio for the glitter of New York in the summer of 1929. Cordelia wants to reunite with her bootlegger father, Darius Grey, while Letty wants to see her name in lights. When they arrive in New York, Cordelia serendipitously meets her father, her brother – Charlie Grey, and Charlie’s sweetheart – Astrid Donal.  These three teen beauties strive to make their marks in New York is one dazzling summer.

One Thing I Learned from reading Anna Godbersen’s Bright Young Things Series

What I Liked : I like the styles from the 1920s – the fashion, the architecture, the art, the music, etc. Also, unlike the main characters of Godbersen’s The Luxe series, these girls appeared kind and caring – no frenemy in the bunch. Lastly, these girls definitely possessed the maturity of teenagers.

What I Disliked: While Godbersen started telling an interesting story, I found myself bored and tempted to scan pages early on in my reading of the third book, The Lucky Ones. Astrid, in particular, didn’t appeal to me. I found her absolutely insipid and I nearly skipped the Astrid-centric chapters. On the other hand, her stepsister Billie didn’t have enough scenes in the saga.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: “Yes, Sir! That’s My Baby!” (Lee Morse, 1925)

Setting: Ohio, New York City, Long Island New York

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Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night


All Through the Night by Mary Higgins Clark | LibraryThing

(A special shout out to Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer! Merry Christmas!)

Clark, M. H. (1998). All through the night. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.  9780684856605

Reasons for Reading : My mom likes reading little Christmas books. She also owns a few. Case in point: Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night. As I’ve put off reading beyond the first page of the narrative until December 22, I hadn’t gotten very far with it. However, I quickly got into this yuletide suspense story.

Summary: A chalice is stolen from St. Clement’s. A baby girl is abandoned at the same rectory. Seven years later, lottery winner Alvirah and her down to earth husband Willy don’t take a holiday from sleuthing. As Sister Cordelia, Willy’s sibling, readies for the Christmas pageant at a thrift shop/after-school center, Sister Cordelia faces the inevitable shutdown of the shelter. The donation of Kate’s home seems to be just the Christmas miracle for which they’ve prayed. Then, the tenants from “the other realm” seem to destroy this. All three of these elements meet and Alvirah’s on the case to solve these mysteries before Christmas Day.

What I Liked:  I liked this book and I found it easy to read. I appreciated that this book wasn’t gratuitous as violence was “offstage.” Not much time was spent on details and that gave readers the freedom to create the appearance of settings and costumes. Also, I liked that characters didn’t shy away from their faith but they weren’t sanctimonious. Overall, the tone is heartwarming and leaves one with warm fuzzies at the end (I hope I didn’t just spoil this! 🙂 )

What I Disliked: Maybe this was just a little too neatly tied up. I would’ve liked a few red herrings in the book. Okay, one would’ve been fantastic. Another thing (just one of my latest quirks) is that I like it when writers set a book at a certain time. So, maybe a reader who discovers All Through the Night a decade from now won’t be disturbed so much about the lack of iPads or whatever other technology is out there. The author could say 1991 and 1998.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT – Christmas Lullaby – Tom Roush.avi – YouTube

Setting: New York City

You might also like:

  • The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  • Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber
  • What Child is This? A Christmas Story by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
For more on Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night, check out the following sites:

John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief


Amazon.com: The Pelican Brief (Unabridged) by John Grisham, Read by Alexander Adams | Amazon

Grisham, J., & Adams, A. (1992). The pelican brief. Santa Ana, CA: Books on Tape. 9780736689113

Reasons for Reading:  As I enjoyed The Firm, I looked for some other books by Grisham. I saw The Pelican Brief audiobook on a shelf at HCPL.

Summary:  The deaths of two quite opposite US Supreme Court Justices rock the entire nation. These mysterious deaths leave the country wondering what the heck just happened. Tulane University Law student Darby Shaw sets out to research these odd circumstances. Afterwards, she writes a legal brief which states that assassins killed the two justices on behalf of oil tycoon Victor Mattiece. Mattiece wants to drill for oil in Louisiana marshland where an endangered species of pelican lives. Darby passes along “The Pelican Brief” to her law professor boyfriend Thomas Callahan. Quickly, more people die and Darby must run for her life.

What I Liked : I admired Darby a lot. She was smart and tried to do the right thing. I also liked Gray Grantham. I found Garcia intriguing.I appreciated the pace of the novel – mostly, Grisham got to the point. Oh, and nice Easter egg with Denton Voyles!

What I Disliked: So far, this is the third Grisham novel I’ve read. The ending seemed similar to that of The Firm. I might pick up one of Grisham’s non-legal thrillers next time.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Aretha Franklin – Chain Of Fools – YouTube

Setting : New Orleans, Louisiana, Washington DC, New York City, The Caribbean

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Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia


Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell | LibraryThing

Powell, J. (2005). Julie and Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316109697

Reasons for Reading:  I’m no gourmet but I enjoyed watching cooking shows on PBS ever since I can remember. One of those heroic translators of French cuisine was the unforgettable Julia Child. She empowered people nationwide to  Since this book was about the experiences of a blogger working her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I decided I wanted to read Julie and Julia someday. A couple of years ago, I heard Julie Powell speak at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. I found the book on the shelf at the HCPL where I work.

Summary: As secretarial government drone Julie Powell eyes her approaching thirtieth birthday, she yearns for something to do. While visiting her family in Austin, Texas, Julie eyes her mom’s copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This sighting inspires Julie to work her way through 524 recipes in a year and blog about her experiences. 

What I Liked : I enjoyed the mention of Samuel Pepys and the segments from Julia and Paul Child. I also liked reading about Austin, Texas, the capital of my home state. The following Julie’s blog built amazed me. It’s impressive how these kind souls even sent her foodstuffs when she remarked on wanting something.

What I Disliked : I didn’t care much for Julie. This fact alone really colored my opinion of the book. I wanted to know more the actual blogging and how it became so lucrative for her. I didn’t find much of that here. Unfortunately I saw the movie before I read the book and that disappointed me as well. Maybe my expectations are too high. 

Two Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪The French Chef Theme Song

Setting: New York City, Austin Texas, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Paris, Boston

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Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot


The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides | LibraryThing

Eugenides, J. (2011). The marriage plot. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 9780374203054

Reasons for Reading : Yippee!!! Jeffrey Eugenides wrote another book. When I saw The Marriage Plot on the bestseller’s list, I added my name to the waiting list for a copy from HCPL

Summary: Starting the morning of Class of 1982’s graduation from Brown University, Madeleine Hanna faces the cold, hard reality of her breakup with Darwinist biologist Leonard Bankhead and very little promise of grad school in the near future. Her take on the marriage plot and Jane Austen’s novels hasn’t exactly wowed Yale Grad School. More immediately, she must deal with her parents. As the Hannas treat Madeleine to breakfast,  Mitchell Grammaticus, a student of Christian mysticism, who believes Madeleine is his soul mate. As Madeleine and Leonard make up and head out to a lab on Cape Cod, Mitchell takes a world tour, aiming to forget Madeleine.

What I Liked : Author Jeffrey Eugenides describes everything so well. I could see these dysfunctional characters. While I am a generation behind them, I still recognized the confusion of life beyond graduaton. Characters such as Madeleine and Mitchell were quite familiar because all three of us over-analyze practically everything.

The ending, which I will not reveal, was to my liking as well.

What I Disliked : One of my friends who read the book before I did warned me about some extra descriptive passages within the book. Going in with my eyes open, I found this book to have high cringe factor.

Also, I wished for more breaks – such as chapters. The Marriage Plot definitely is broken down into parts. However, these sections were, well, stealthy. With these Ivy League alum, much intertextuality can be found with the covers. That’s cool, especially the mention of Ludwig Bemelman’s Madeline. While this techniques offers context, it also made the book with the long sections seem infinitely longer. I’m not even going to touch the semiotics within, either.

I wanted to throttle, above all other characters, Leonard and Madeleine’s sister, Alwyn. Amongst a strange and disillusioned and delusional cast, these two deserved the padded cells and straight jackets the most.

Lastly, I liked both The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex better. Eugenides’ previous novels offered, above all else, unique narrators. The former spoke in the form of a group of men reflecting upon something from their adolescence while the latter had the incomparably omniscient Cal Stephanides. The Marriage Plot had ordinary third person omniscient points of view.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime” – YouTube

Setting : Providence, Rhode Island; Detroit, New York City, New Jersey; Portland, Oregan; Cape Cod, Boston, Provincetown, India, France, Ireland, Greece

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Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key


Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay | LibraryThing

Rosnay, T. . (2010). Sarah’s key. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. 9781250004345

Reasons for Reading : I recalled my mom reading this book a few years before the movie hit American theaters. Also, working on my library’s contribution to the Holocaust Museum Houston’s Butterfly Project led me to Sarah’s Key. I checked out the book from HCPL.

Summary: Beginning in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942, the French police arrest a ten year-old girl and her family in the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. The girl manages to lock her younger brother in a secret cupboard in the family’s apartment. She promises to return in a few hours.

The girl’s story alternates with that Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in 2002 Paris with her French husband and daughter. Her editor asks her to write an article commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv Roundup. As Julia investigates, she stumbles upon a fateful connection to Sarah, that little girl who stowed her brother in the secret cupboard. This link may lead to better living for Julia or the undoing of her marriage.

What I Liked : Author de Rosnay created rich characters in Sarah and Julia. The latter narrated her of the novel and de Rosnay conveyed the thoughts of an American outcast quite authentically. Sarah’s point of view was related in third person.

I adored Jules and Genevieve. These people offer hope for humanity. They’re the sort that deserve Nobel Peace Prizes.

Also, I found it sobering to learn the French police’s involvement in the Holocaust. It just shows how far brainwashing can go.

What I Disliked : This story made me very sad. Obviously, the key issues weren’t the happiest. I promise that I went into reading this book with my eyes open.

The first part of the book alternated between Sarah’s 1942 and Julia’s 2002. Then, the second part of the book didn’t. Without revealing the end, I wasn’t too keen on losing one of those points of view.

Before I forget, Julia’s husband was horrendous!

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: Linkin Park – In The End – YouTube

Setting : Paris, France, Germany, Poland, New York City, Boston, Italy

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