Archive for April 2011

Fleeting Pages – A Pop-Up Bookstore in Pittsburgh

If you don’t live under a rock, I’m sure you know that a very large number of Borders bookstores have closed in the past several months.  One of the targeted stores was the Borders located in East Liberty (in Pittsburgh, PA, if you’re not from around these parts).  A local woman came up with the idea to open a temporary bookstore in the empty space that would focus primarily on local authors or indie authors rather than the mainsteam authors and books that the “big box” bookstores carry.  The store will also hold evening events such as documentary screenings, author readings, et cetera.

Check out this article that was in the Pittsburgh City Paper today about Fleeting Pages: Old East Liberty Borders gets new life as a pop-up bookstore.  The new store opens on May 7th and will be open for four weeks.  Will you be there?  I definitely want to check it out!  This is a really interesting concept and I hope she finds much success in those few weeks.  Maybe that will lead to something else in the future, like a permanent storefront somewhere.

Find out more about Fleeting Pages by visiting www.fleetingpages.com.

Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper

You guys know I’m a sucker for a good animal story (see here and here).  I finished another good animal book recently and it’s on my list of to-do list of blog posts, but I was so excited about this one that I had to share it now!

Homer’s Odyssey” is about a young woman named Gwen with a love for cats.  She already has two, Scarlett and Vashti, when her vet calls asking if she’d be interested in adopting a little blind kitten that no one else wants.  After Gwen meets the little guy, she knows right away that he is special and has to take him home.  Homer, as she names him, had to have both eyes removed when he was several weeks old.  Like a human, his other senses are heightened to make up for his loss of sight.  Gwen worries about Homer in her house that she shares with a friend and also with her two other cats.  Homer quickly proves that he’s up to the challenge and adjusts with ease and makes himself comfortable quickly.

Homer is also extremely affectionate toward not only Gwen, but anyone who shows him attention and wants to be his friend.  He relies heavily on Gwen to help translate his many different meows and to introduce him properly to a new person.  He is like any other cat – he loves to play, attack the other cats, and snuggle – and is extremely loyal and saves Gwen’s life in one situation.  Gwen tells story after story about funny things that Homer did that will make you think of your own cats and wish that you were the parent of a blind cat.  Seriously, I thought to myself multiple times how much I wanted to go out and adopt a blind cat.  You’ll understand why when you read the book.

Spoiler (in a good way, I’d hope): this story does not have a sad ending.  Yay!  Of course, there are some sad parts, but Homer is still going strong today.  This book was an emotional roller coaster for me.  One minute I was laughing out loud, the next minute I was crying.  Even though I loved the book about Dewey, the library cat, Homer’s story tops it.  He has such personality and it’s amazing to hear how he lives his life even though he can’t actually see the world around him… he adapts.  It helps that his mother, Gwen Cooper, is a great writer and can tell the story in a way that makes you fall in love with Homer, just like everyone else who has ever met him.

My recommendation: if you love cats (the TV theme song to “Must Love Cats” just popped into my head – go watch that too if you get Animal Planet!  John Fulton is the man.), you must go read this book.  I love love loved it and I hope you will too.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Being able to pre-order new releases before they come out on the Kindle is pretty sweet.  It’s nice because you don’t pay for the book until it is automatically delivered to your Kindle on release day so you can pre-order books months in advance and not spend all of that money all at once.  I couldn’t wait to read Kristin Hannah’s newest book that just came out a few weeks ago.

Night Road” is told in chunks of time.  It starts out in 2000 when twin teenagers Mia and Zach are entering high school.  The twins are inseparable, even though they are somewhat different: Zach plays sports and is quite popular; Mia is quiet, shy, and doesn’t really have her own set of friends outside of Zach’s.  They seem to balance each other out and are quite dependent on each other.  At this same time, another girl named Lexi, an orphan who has bounced from foster home to foster home, moves into their small town in Washington to be taken in by her great aunt who she has never met before.  Lexi is a bit of a loner herself and on the first day of high school, Lexi and Mia meet during lunch and quickly become best friends.  Judy, Mia and Zach’s mother, has initial concerns about Lexi (her family history, background, etc.) since  their family is quite well-to-do.  Judy is also worried that Lexi will use Mia to get to Zach, which is what happened with another friend of Mia’s in the past.

Fast forward a few years: all this time, Lexi has had a secret crush on Zach but hasn’t done anything about it due to Judy’s concerns.  After a party, Lexi comes on to Zach and he later reveals that he’s had feelings for her the whole time, too.  As Lexi and Zach begin a relationship, and after Mia and Judy’s initial shock wears off, the three teens become as close as ever.  Mia and Zach are both accepted into USC for college, while Lexi can only afford to go to the community college.  Zach doesn’t want to leave Lexi and wants to stay behind in Washington with her, but Mia is too scared to go off to college by herself.

All three kids go to the big graduation celebration party held by one of their classmates at the end of the year.  They drink at the party, even though they promised Judy they wouldn’t.  When it’s time to leave and all three are drunk, Zach and Mia are too afraid to call their mother for a ride even though Judy said they can always call instead of driving after drinking.  What happens next will change everyone’s lives…

I hate leaving you with a cliche cliffhanger like that but that’s really all I can say without giving major spoilers.   I have a habit of not reading the book jacket/summary for authors I like so I had no clue what was going to happen in this book so even up to this point, everything was a surprise to me.

I’ve enjoyed all of Kristin Hannah‘s other books so far but this one was really captivating.  There is so much that happens in the book (so much more after I stopped my summary above) but it’s easy to digest because she breaks it into chunks of years over a decade or so with gaps in between.  I will tell you right now that I almost cried a number of times while reading this but held it in because I was reading it while sitting in the waiting area at the mechanic while getting my car worked on and there were other people around.  The characters were really realistic and the story really draws you in.  I found myself siding with certain characters over others.

I know it’s not summer yet, but if you have any spring vacations coming up and you don’t mind an emotional, potentially tear-jerking book, add this to your reading list.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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