The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, literature, Reviews, romance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by payjturner

The Reader by Berhard Schlink is the story of a teenager who becomes involved with an older, mysterious woman. It is set in Germany and written from the teenagers point of view.

Years later, after thier relationship is over, he discovers a shocking secret about this woman. The secret takes him back to the time of thier relationship, which he seems to relive over and over, while he struggles to accept and understand her secret and what happened between them.

The thing that intrigued me about this book is the shock and mystery…the idea of thinking that you know someone, at least on some level, and then discovering something that you could have never imagined about that person. It makes the lead character question everything that he thought he knew about this woman as well as everything about their relationship.

While the relationship and the secret itself do not disappoint, you basically get a bird’s eye view of the events afterword. This is the type of book where I really want to hear the other side of the story. The woman’s side of the story during and after the relationship would be a much more fulfilling read and answer my multitude of questions. That is not provided. I didn’t feel like this book was unfinished but I did feel like it should be a set of two books with the other book being written from the woman’s point of view.


Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, Entertainers, fantasy, literature, Reviews, romance, sci-fi, twilight, Uncategorized, vampire, werewolf with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by payjturner

Stephanie Myer’s Eclipse, similar to its predecessors, is extremely seductive and packed with forbidden romance and turmoil. But the one thing that this book has over Twilight and New Moon is, without a doubt, suspense. It starts off somewhat slow in the beginning. It’s almost like the author wants to torture you just to see how much you can take. But all of that suspense definitely pays off in the end. Toward the middle of the book you start to get pulled in a few different directions by the characters. The action and suspense picks up dramatically, almost to the point of exhaustion. This is a good thing.

Eclipse takes the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob to new levels. This is, of course, the most fascinating part of the book and its core. You get a deeper understanding of the characters feelings. You see an almost unhealthy and inhuman kind of forgiveness and patience, particularly on Edward’s part, which is believable considering that he is not human. Jacob forces Bella into a realization that she never saw coming that only heightens her struggle. And in the middle of all of that, there are enemies to contend with and major, life altering decisions to make.

In the end, the characters aren’t the only people torn between one path or the other. As a reader, I was torn right along with them. Eclipse absolutely lives up to the standard that the first two books set and, in some cases, surpasses it.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko

Posted in Book, literature, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2009 by payjturner

Admittedly, this isn’t normally the kind of book that I would read. (had to read it for a graduate class) But I’m glad that I did. Alot of it is common sense to me but it does drive some points about personal finance home. It gives you detailed information about America’s millionaires, the who, what,  habits,  lifestyle, & how they became wealthy. You’ll be surprised. They’re not the people you think they are. You probably wouldn’t even recognize one if you saw them walking down the street or driving a car.

The books facts are based on over 20 years of research including focus groups and interviews with more than 500 millionaires and surveys completed by 11,000 high net worth and/or high income people. It basically tells you what you need to do if you want to become wealthy  …truly wealthy. Not the kind of wealthy most people think of…you make a large salary then you spend it all. True wealth is building appreciable assets.

I think everyone can take something away from this book but the ones who really need it are the “big hat no cattle” kind of people (people with flashy things & zero net worth). But people like me who just don’t save or invest as much as they should need to read it too. The biggest thing it gave me is hope. I have spent an enormous amount of time worrying about my salary not being enough and not having enough money to retire comfortably. The information in this book helped me realize that you really don’t have to make an outrageous annual salary in order to substantially increase your net worth over time. Common sense tells me that if I reduce my spending, save as much as I can, and invest wisely that I will be in the best possible place I can be. What I realize now is that if I really commit myself the best possible place I can be is much better than I would’ve ever thought possible…maybe not a millionaire but still a good place.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, Entertainers, literature, Reviews, romance, twilight, Uncategorized, vampire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2009 by payjturner

Finally. New Moon. I’ve been trying to carve out enough time to read this book for months! I actually only had to carve out 3 slots of time because once I started reading it I could not put it down. It definitely does not disappoint!

Twilight is all about new love.  New Moon is all about loss and friendship. I was a little worried about this one. Edward is my favorite character and I heard that he wasn’t in it very much. He doesn’t have nearly as big a part in this book as he did in Twilight… at least in terms of dialogue. He still has a big presence…even if it’s just in Bella’s head.

This book takes Bella through some extremely high highs and the lowest of lows. It is a smorgasbord of emotion. A roller coaster. And not the wimpy kind either. The kind that takes you backwards and upside down with all kinds of twists and turns and free falls. The kind that makes you question your intelligence for riding it and has you still walking a zig zag pattern 30 minutes later.

In the middle of it all we get to know Jacob Black. He goes from the acquaintance to the younger, hunky, sweet best friend that Bella comes to love dearly. The only problem is that he wants something Bella can’t give.

Jacob fills in the empty space that Edward leaves behind. Sounds scarry at first but the story line surprised me and completely drew me in. I have been known to get emotional when watching movies but books rarely, maybe never, get this kind of reaction out of me. It was insane. In a good way. Now, I am having a hard time deciding if I like Twilight or New Moon the most.  Before long I’m going to be like one of the millions of crazy, teenage, drooling girls with glossed over eyes standing in line at a Twilight event waiting for Rob Pattinson or some other Twilight guy to sign my face screaming, “I’m never washing my face again!” Oh well, bring on Eclipse!

Book Review: Moonwalk by Michael Jackson

Posted in biography, Book, books, Celebrities, Entertainers, literature, michael jackson, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by payjturner

moonwalkMoonwalk is basically a recollection of Michael Jackson’s life, in his own words, through 1988.  He discusses his music, family, friends, career, views, relationships, influences, and much more.

Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of discussion about his music and its history. For instance, he says that he did “This Place Hotel” because he had a fascination with revenge and couldn’t really understand why people would want revenge. “The Lady in My Life” was the song where Quincy Jones asked him to “beg”. “Blues Away”, which he didn’t sing anymore by this time, was about a deep depression even though the song has a light feel to it.  

He says that he is surprised when people think that all of an artist’s work comes from personal experience or their own lifestyle because many times nothing is farther from the truth. It is the artist’s job to create a mood or feeling using imagination, which is the most useful tool an artist has.

Michael Jackson was obviously a perfectionist who was extremely professional and serious when it came to his work. He recalls that during the making of The Wiz someone was joking around while he was filming a scene. They were trying to make him laugh and he was very upset and hurt by that. He couldn’t understand why someone would want to act that way knowing that it could mess up the scene.

He talks about all of the people who influenced him from Sammy Davis Jr. to Jackie Wilson to Fred Astaire. He reveals some of the pranks played by he and his brothers, what it was like for a child to play in seedy night clubs, why Janet was like his twin, and what it was like to drop his father as his manager. He recalls what happened after the famous Pepsi commercial where he received 3rd degree burns and how it was his childhood dream to ride in an ambulance with the sirens going. He also says that he dreamed of having a family with 13 kids.

He describes himself as “one of the loneliest people in the world.” He touches on his relationships saying that girls want to “figure out what makes me tick.”  They want to either save him or be lonely with him and he wouldn’t wish that on anyone. He discusses the fact that he had a hard time looking them, and the public, in the eye due to his shy nature. He used sunglasses to hide his eyes and, in some tiny way, to have some sense of privacy that was almost impossible to come by without barricading himself inside a room. A doctor gave him a surgical mask once after having his wisdom teeth taken out. He recalls that he liked the feeling of wearing it out in public because, like the sunglasses, it gave him a sense of privacy. Some of the more chilling moments in the book were his thoughts on celebrities, like Elvis for instance, who have tragically fallen victim to their lifestyle. He says that he didn’t think he would end up like that and he didn’t want to.

I found Moonwalk to be smart, sensitive and extremely insightful. He seemed like, to use his own words, “a young person with an old soul” who felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility not only to his family and friends who depended on him but also to his fans. I personally enjoyed the book a great deal. I feel like it gave me a better understanding of Michael Jackson beyond the music. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan.

Book Review: The Way I Am by Eminem

Posted in biography, Book, books, Celebrities, Eminem, Entertainers, Hip Hop, literature, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by payjturner

embookOk. First, let me say (& this has nothing to do with the book so if you don’t want to hear it skip to paragraph 2) that I have always liked some of Eminem’s music. Sometimes I don’t know whether to be amused, sad, or offended by it but, love him or hate him, I think he is super creative, a fantastic story teller and lyrically a genius. And most of the time, if you can get past the explicit lyrics and exaggerations, his songs actually have some meaning to them. You may have to read between the lines and know something about his life or history to interpret but it’s there. But it’s only music. It’s entertainment. And like any other form of entertainment it’s not necessarily meant to be taken seriously. I mean, I don’t watch a horror movie and think “Wow, the person who wrote this movie must be a horrible monster who actually did these things so I can’t watch their movies.” I’m not a murderer, thief or prostitute. I don’t cuss like a sailor…most of the time. I have zero interest in drugs. And for the record, listening to Eminem’s music or watching movies with horrific scenes has never made me want to do any of the above. Ok, a boring movie or song might make me want to do drugs but I resist the urge. And when someone hurts me or makes me mad I might call them names and think of committing homicide but I would never actually do it. Anyway, for some inexplicable reason I have been more into his music lately. I suppose I’ve just gotten way beyond bored with the music that is out there and I need something to wake me up. I’ve been reading a lot more too so when I ran across his book I had to read it.

I have to say that I found Eminem’s book to be pretty interesting. Probably because it wasn’t exactly what I expected…meaning it wasn’t all about music. He makes a living expressing his emotions and thoughts so I’m not sure why it surprised me so much that his book would contain so much of both but it did. I suppose it’s the ease with which he seems to convey them that catches me off guard. Who knew that he could do it in a semi-biographical, not-meant-to-be-taken literally, funny song & in a book that is serious? I mean, isn’t it the guys who are supposed to be bad with expressing thoughts & emotions? He comes across as being very real…just a regular guy. He touches on things that most people wouldn’t reveal because it’s embarrassing or shameful in some way. Again, why the shock? He does that in song lyrics all of the time. That serious book thing just really throws me off.

There are a few things that really stick out to me and surprisingly the most memorable ones are not about music. As soon as you open the book you are smacked in the face with 4 pages of pure emotion as Eminem talks about his best friend Proof who was shot in 2006. It’s very powerful and relatable. He talks about how Proof taught him to fight and helped him out with a cash making scheme battling (with words not fists) kids at Proof’s school. Of course there are plenty of stories about his music and career. You get some behind the scenes info on his lyrics and videos like when he got beat up as a kid, had blood coming from his ears and blacked out, hence the song “Brain Damage”. You get to read about how his uncle Ronnie introduced him to hip-hop when he was still listening to (get this) New Edition and Michael Jackson. Who knew? He breaks down the fine lines between Marshall Mathers, Eminem, and Slim Shady which I found very interesting. I sort of got it before but now it actually makes total sense. He talks about where the peroxide ‘do came from, what he thinks could be his biggest contribution to hip-hop, and the point where he realized that he didn’t need to get high to do shows anymore because the crowd was actually there for him. There are stories about his background that include moving around every few months, his house getting robbed constantly, choosing to be the clown over the shy kid in school, and legal problems. He talks about his kids, what they mean to him, and how he explains himself to them. He mentions his father basically to say that he has no interest in knowing him anymore. He mentions his ex-wife mostly to say that they get along now for the kids sake. He mentions his ex and his mom to say that it’s not ok for others to talk negatively about them.

What is clearly missing from this book is all of the drama from his past that involves his mother and ex-wife but I suppose he has addressed that enough in his lyrics. One other thing that is noticeably missing is his journey to get clean. These things could probably be another book in themselves. Maybe this isn’t the last book we’ll see from him?

The book comes with a dvd. It’s pretty short though so don’t get too excited about that part. It’s got some good concert footage and some of Eminem and his crew joking around. The book contains copies of lyric sheets or chicken scratch as some would call it. You can see how his lyrics started out before he perfected them. I don’t know how he deciphered all of them but I guess there’s a method to his madness. There are sketches of superheros and people that he drew…50 cent, Tupac, and himself. They’re impressive. I’m no artist but I think if the rap/producing thing doesn’t keep going he could definitely work on the comic book circuit.

Overall, it is serious and amusing at the same time. And, as always when it comes to Eminem, it is thought provoking. You can tell he feels like he is often misunderstood because sometimes when he makes a joke he puts “(just kidding)” after it. Imagine that. Eminem misunderstood? I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is an Eminem fan, a hip-hop fan, or a good rags-to-riches story fan.

Oh, one more thing…this is Eminem we’re talking about not Nathaniel Hawthorne. Expect lots of colorful language and imperfect sentence structure. If you’re a literary nut who can’t stand it when a comma is out of place this book is not for you.

Book Review: Twilight by S. Meyer

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, literature, Reviews, romance, twilight, Uncategorized, vampire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by payjturner

twilightcoverJust finished reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Yeah, I’m a little late getting into this world-wide wind storm but better late than never right? I watched the movie months ago. I heard through an acquaintance that the movie was good. This particular acquaintance is not exactly the type to be into movies like this so I decided to try it out. I didn’t expect to like it but I loved it. I guess the high school girl in me is alive and well…not that I really had any doubt. I still feel like I’m 18…and let me assure you that 18 was many “new moons” ago.

So, since I loved the movie so much I wanted to read the book. Normally, I don’t read the book after I’ve already seen the movie. It’s sometimes hard for me to get into if I already know what’s coming…although most of the time the book is much better & quite a bit different.

In this case, the book definitely held my interest. The movie very closely resembles the book in almost every detail. There are a few exceptions but nothing that really throws you off or makes you regret having read or watched it. The book filled in some gaps (like a more detailed history of the Cullens) for me and made things a little bit clearer as they often do. It elaborates on the emotions of the characters which helped me to better understand some of the acting in the movie. I’m normally not into vampire books or movies but this is more of a love story than anything else. The vampire theme takes a back seat.

I now know why the teen crowd goes nuts over this book and movie. Edward Cullen. Before I thought is was just the fact that the actor who plays Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) happens to be gorgeous. This has to be the most fascinating vampire that I’ve ever read about or watched. He’s probably every young (& possibly not so young) girls bad boy fantasy. This character, as well as the story line between Edward and Bella, makes Twilight the intrigue that it has become. Actually, I think it’s more of an addiction. I could’ve read the book more than once if I didn’t have graduate classes to worry about. I watched the movie 3 times & could’ve (& probably will at some point) watch it more.

You know the feeling you get when you finally get something that you really love that you haven’t had in a long time (like chocolate or caffeine)? Well, Twilight gives you that feeling and in some cases it’s even better.

I think almost anyone who is into books with romance as one of the major themes will like it. It is a light but highly enjoyable and addictive read. I honestly can’t wait to read the rest of the Twilight saga and watch the upcoming movies.