Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lounging on the Couch

March break is just around the corner. If your looking for some good books to snuggle up with on the couch, I highly recommend these picks below. Make yourself a hot coffee, put on those comfy 1980's but I still fit track pants, send the kids out with your husband and enjoy some respite for the soul.

Adult picks

The Giver by Lois Lowry
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

Inez Of My Soul by Isabel Allende
Only months after the inauguration of Chile's first female president, Allende recounts in her usual sweeping style the grand tale of Doña Inés Suárez (1507– 1580), arguably the country's founding mother. Writing in the year of her death, Inés tells of her modest girlhood in Spain and traveling to the New World as a young wife to find her missing husband, Juan. Upon learning of Juan's humiliating death in battle, Inés determines to stay in the fledgling colony of Peru, where she falls fervently in love with Don Pedro de Valdivia, loyal field marshal of Francisco Pizarro. The two lovers aim to found a new society based on Christian and egalitarian principles that Valdivia later finds hard to reconcile with his personal desire for glory. Inés proves herself not only a capable helpmate and a worthy cofounder of a nation, but also a ferocious fighter who both captivates and frightens her fellow settlers. Inés narrates with a clear eye and a sensitivity to native peoples that rarely lapses into anachronistic political correctness. Basing the tale on documented events of her heroine's life, Allende crafts a swift, thrilling epic, packed with fierce battles and passionate romance.

The Girls by Lori Lansens
In 29 years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, "The Girls" (as they are known in their small Ontario town) are the world's oldest surviving craniopagus twins. In her astonishing second novel, Lori Lansens (author of Rush Home Road) ventures into the strange world of physical abnormality that Barbara Gowdy so chillingly explored in We So Seldom Look on Love. While some writers might be tempted to play up the grotesque aspects of life as a conjoined twin, Lansens treats her so-called freaks with sensitivity and respect. The result is an extraordinarily moving narrative about human connectedness that questions the very meaning of "normal."

Kids picks

The Magic Hockey Stick by Peter Maloney and Felicia Zekauskas
Kindergarten-Grade 2-A young hockey player receives the ultimate gift when her parents accidentally buy Wayne Gretzky's hockey stick at a charity auction. However, her father insists that she keep the expensive collector's item displayed on pegs above her bed. Temptation overcomes, and the stick is smuggled to the ice rink inside a huge stuffed giraffe. With the autographed stick, the child scores goal after goal and her team has its best season ever. Meanwhile, Gretzky himself is in a scoring slump. The newspaper says he's lost his stuff. After a sleepless night full of guilty dreams, the protagonist hurries to Madison Square Garden determined to return the magic stick. The hockey pro is so touched by his young fan's generosity that he requests her autograph. A satisfying ending shows the famous stick displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame. This story is told in humorous rhyme and is accompanied by delightful cartoon illustrations. Even children who have no knowledge of hockey will be entertained by this book and impressed by its message. Maloney and Zekauskas have scored a winning goal with this one.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback on these books.

Thank you amazon.com for the book descriptions.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The New Age Bikini Cleanse

Considering the upcoming bikini season is just around the corner, I considered doing the Lemonade Cleanse. A friend was singing its praise, even though the rational part of my brain was rejecting the pseudo-scientific explanation. I even went so far to purchase a bag full of lemons.

Enter stage right, stomach bug "gastroenteritis"... Thank you kindergarten kids....

With the little tykes, there is no controlling the germs that infest every area of your home, no matter what a clean freak you are. The whole family is down for the count.

Two weeks later and a handful of sleepless nights hugging the can and I can forget the lemonade cleanse. My get in shape "diet" has just been given an advance green light. My bikini body has been given a kick start. Not only have I enjoyed the benefits, but so has my husband who was unwilling to suffer through the lemonade cleanse with me. I'm sure I'll have the energy to get back on the elliptical machine next week. There is the silver lining....

I was thinking about a unikini, as recommended by my good friend Kathleen, but unfortunately, I was only able to find one for my hubby. Not sure he will agree to this.