Amy Clark

Great Reads for Moms: November ’10 Edition

I hope you are still enjoying our round-up of great reads each week.  I am still happily plugging away at my to-be-read pile, and just love sharing ideas for great books to read with our readers. This month’s reading includes both a couple of more serious reads, while still offering a couple of fun chick-lit books that would be great to tackle.  I don’t know about you, but as holiday preparations are underway, I find myself longing for a little escape through fun literature that can take my mind off of my endless to-do list. I hope that my suggestions will offer just that for you!

Be sure to check our MomAdvice fan page for a weekly check-in on what everyone is reading each week on our Facebook Fan Page. I hope you will swing by on Fridays and share about the books you are working on or request recommendations with one another. So far it is a huge success and I have gotten a few new ideas for my own stack!

Just as a reminder, I read many more  books than are just featured here, but try to feature the ones that are my absolute best picks of the month here. If you want to read more, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! My username is momadvice and I am always happy to connect with people there too! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Room by Emma Donoghue

“Room,” is a stunning book written by Emma Donoghue that will stick with readers long after they have read the final pages. Told through the eyes of a five-year-old little boy named Jack, Room & his Ma the only things he has ever known because he has been held, and was even born in Room, his entire existence. His only glimpses of the outside world are through a skylight above their room and the limited amount of television he has watched through his time there. Of course, he doesn’t believe that anything in the television is real because he has never had the chance to experience what lies outside of the room.

His Ma was kidnapped and held hostage for seven years. She was just a child herself when she was taken and she has done everything she can to make Jack’s life just as rich as can be without being able to leave Room. In fact, she put me to shame as a mother reading all that she was doing with her child. Ma has thought of everything from celebrating Jack on his birthdays, to art time, to gym time…she manages to make it work in this tiny room.

The book is written in the language of a child which I thought would be very annoying, but quickly found it to be both endearing and poignant. I am sure it was a true challenge as an author to write in this style and to not make it unbearable to read. Emma Donoghue captures the voice and innocence of Jack perfectly in this stunning book.

While I wish I could say more about the book, it would definitely take away from the plot and the beauty of enjoying this one through fresh eyes. As a reader though, know that your heart will ache and root triumphantly for this mother & child to see the outside world!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

From the author of, “The Devil Wears Prada,” is a great new read following a normal everyday couple and what happens when fame comes knocking.

Julian & Brooke live a relatively idyllic life as both have focus on their careers. Julian works a day job, but has high hopes of one day becoming a famous musician. Brooke, his wife, is his number one fan who works two jobs to help support her husband’s struggling career as he tries to break into the record industry. They both hope that he will one day become famous and do what he loves so much. Of course, the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” really rings true when Julian finally becomes the rock star he has always wanted.

While Julian is whisked off and surrounded by a PR team and record executives looking to boost his image and get him mentioned in tabloids, Brooke is left wondering what this will all mean for her and their marriage. When a scandalous picture is taken of her husband with another woman at Chateau Marmont, Brooke must decide if she can truly believe Julian or if the pressure from fans and the people he surrounds himself with have become too much.

As she struggles to continue doing her job while still supporting Julian and being there for all of the events that are happening in his career, Brooke now finds herself, at times, lonely and practically single. With every obstacle placed in front of their marriage, the reader is left wondering if any marriage could survive the fame and scrutiny of the public.

A heartbreaking and real look at fame and how it could alter a relationship, this is a little more than your typical chick-lit! Lauren Weisberger delivers another great new read filled with pop culture references and many cameos from some of your favorite celebrities!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Isabel is an ape researcher who has devoted her life to working with the bonobo apes. The apes are like family to her and they use sign language and a linguistics chart to communicate what it is they need. Isabel & the staff accommodate to what the apes need from getting them lattes to filming their excursions for the apes to watch later. All that they do is meant to study & research the apes while keeping them in a safe environment, and learn about how they communicate with one another.

John Thigpen is a journalist who has been assigned the story of the bonobo apes and comes to document what the research lab is doing with them. He finds he is immediately drawn to Isabel and the apes and is excited to write a piece about them.

Shortly after his visit though, the ape lab is bombed and Isabel is injured and hospitalized after the bombing. She is in pain, but concerned more for the apes and their well-being. When news footage shows the apes hanging in the trees because they are so frightened, Isabel becomes increasingly agitated about where they will end up. Where they end up though, no one could have guessed.

After the apes are captured, they are thrown into a reality series home called, “Ape House” and documented twenty-four hours a day on television that can be viewed for the price of a membership. A seedy former pornographer producer has decided to exploit the apes as they subject them to ridiculous situations in order to make money off of them. Particular concentration seems to be on making the apes act or do things in sexual ways, in hopes to boost the ratings.

When John begins working as a reporter for a tabloid paper, after being let go from his last job, he is assigned coverage of the Ape House series. He is once again trying to find out information about Isabel and what happened at the lab that would have caused the explosion. He ultimately is faced with blowing the cover off of the whole situation and uses his investigative reflexes to find out who would have bombed the lab and how the apes came into the hands of this producer.

I was so excited to dive into, “Ape House,” and couldn’t wait to see what Sara Gruen came up with next. Although she spent years researching and spending a great deal of time with the bonobo apes, which was evident throughout the storyline of the bonobos, the story just wasn’t as solid or the characters as endearing as I had hoped. I was hoping for more from this book and there were too many characters and side stories that took away from the research and beauty of the story of the apes. I still breezed through the book and found it to be a quick read, but wished that the storyline didn’t have so many loose ends and unnecessary characters, focusing more on the storyline of the apes themselves.

(MomAdvice Rating- 3 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Over the years, I have enjoyed reading Becky’s shenanigans and expenditures in the Shopaholic series more than I can say and the new Mini Shopaholic is just as enjoyable and endearing as Sophie Kinsella’s earlier books in the series.

Becky is now happily married to Luke Brandon, the love of her life, and they have a two-year-old little girl who is Becky’s biggest challenge yet. Minnie is a strong-willed child who has a love and fascination for shopping just like her mother. As she is banned from stores for her bad behavior and tantrums uncontrollably when things don’t go her way, you wonder how Becky will be able to manage their child.

As Luke is wrapped up with work and the difficulties of managing his business & they struggle with their badly behaved Minnie, Becky decides to take it upon herself to throw a surprise birthday party for Luke that will include all of his friends and colleagues. The catch is that a financial crisis in London has forced everyone to be on a budget, and this will include Becky and the party of the year that Becky is hoping to throw. Since Becky has rarely had to do anything on a budget before, hilarity ensues as Becky tries to pull off a budget-friendly party and not have Luke catch on to her plan.

Readers will be entertained as Becky tries to find jugglers and fire-eaters by bartering through Craigslist with her high fashion wardrobe pieces and as she crafts homemade pom poms for the party décor. As a YouTube, “Happy Birthday to Luke” campaign is underway and newspapers are blasting about the party of the year, you will be giggling to the last page at what lengths Becky will go to as she tries to celebrate Luke’s birthday and extinguish the fires as the word begins to spread about the party.

I really enjoyed this quick read although the last two chapters really made the whole book for me. It is the glimpses of the realness of Becky and her everyday struggles with a strong-willed child that made this a great read for moms and her shopaholic ways that add that little bit of escape to every day life.

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Not enough great reads for you? Check out our Books section of our site for monthly recommendations and ideas for making reading a priority again in your busy mom life!

Disclosure: All of the links above are affiliate links and are provided so you can locate the books quickly and easily. Feel free to order a book, but we encourage utilizing the library system and buying me a latte instead.  Then we both would be really happy and we could have our own little book club together! Wouldn’t that just be so much more lovely? Happy Reading!

What has been in your book stack this month? Feel free to share your book recommendations or feedback on any of the books that have been mentioned above! I love getting new suggestions for my book pile!

Published November 02, 2010 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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