Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Heartbeat Away - Michael Palmer

A Heartbeat AwayA Heartbeat Away – Michael Palmer
Release Date – February 15, 2011
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = R (Language, Adult Content, Violence, Nasty Viruses, Nastier Politicians)

Why: Make sure to block out a good portion of your day before starting this one, otherwise you’ll feel guilty about locking yourself in the bathroom to finish.  A Heartbeat Away was our first glimpse into the world of Michael Palmer and we’ll admit – we were pleasantly surprised.     

Historically, State of the Union addresses are filled with declarations of progress and frustrations at having to battle misguided policies endorsed by the other party.  Few involved would ever expect the release of a lethal virus.  Well, for President Jim Allaire, said event is just the beginning of his nightmare and his only hope lies in a rogue virologist currently spending his leisure time in a maximum security federal prison.  All the while, death is creeping nearer and nearer to Washington’s top officials.      

The tone for A Heartbeat Away is set before chapter 1 even begins with a single page containing the official order of Presidential Succession (doesn’t exactly provide the reader with high hopes of the top brass making it all the way through to the end).  The novel also wrestles with the delicate balance between personal liberties and government protection while constantly blurring the lines of good and evil.  Then again, what would you expect when a bunch of politicians are expected to solve complex problems.  Oh, that reminds us of a joke – stop us if you’ve heard this one...  A politician, a lobbyist and a journalist walk into the Washington Memorial... sorry, we’ve digressed.

Overall, A Heartbeat Away was an exciting read.  There were times when the dialogue became a bit predictable, but otherwise the characters felt very real.  We loved the fact that the plot is veiled in grayness and nothing’s as clear as it appears on the surface.  Literally, the final twist isn’t revealed until the last ten pages.  In summary, A Heartbeat Away provides the perfect fix for any long suffering suspense junkie.

Oh, and before we sign off, we’d like to take about nineteen seconds (time estimate assumes a 9th grade reading comprehension level) to mention a new Facebook page Michael’s set up for the release of A Heartbeat Away.  It gives readers an opportunity to join the discussion on many of the same controversial themes found in his latest book.  New topics are posted each week and none of them permit easy answers.  Actually, we’re heading there right now – you should come too.  Just give us about five minutes or so... our browser’s been running a little slow lately.        

Editor’s Note:  Yes, the last few pages were read in the bathroom...

Happy Birthday 200lb Man!!!

Happy 1st Birthday 200lb Man!!!  If nothing else, last year was a remarkable display of awkwardness...  We look forward to another year of high quality entertainment!!! 

Furthermore, we would like to go on record by saying nobody throws a birthday bash like the 200lb Man!  The chocolate cake was amazing!!!

Take a look at the actual footage - actual footage.

Editor's Note:  We apologize for the use of so many Exclamation Points in this post.  We kind of got caught up in the excitement!!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Anthem Anthem – Ayn Rand
Evan’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Erin’s ESS =  out of 10      
Content = PG (Adult Content, Weird Names, Appallingly few Individual Rights)

Why: It’s always incredible when an author can pack tons of emotion into just a few pages.  Anthem, which is a mere 146 pages, is a first-class example.  Furthermore, Ayn Rand takes home the award for the most unique, name given to any protagonist.

The novel begins as Equality 7-2521, provides a stirring account of the current state of the world.  Yes, that’s right, Equality 7-2521 is the main character and is only to be outdone by Liberty 5-3000 (we can only speculate on the parents and sibling names of Equality 7-2521).  Anywhooo, the world of Anthem is a mess and through massive government oppression, the individual is all but eliminated.  It’s up to Equality 7-2521 to push the boundaries of the World Council and strive valiantly to obtain his own personal freedoms.  Not an easy task.        

For us, the voice presented in Anthem was truly unique and the story was powerful.  It took us half the novel to understand what Rand was doing with her use of plural pronouns and the revelation gave us shivers (this could have also been due to the fact that the bath water was quickly loosing temperature).  Along with Equality 7-2521, we tried to guess the single Unspeakable Word that caused anyone instant torture and death.  Not surprising, we didn’t figure things out until the very end and the word revealed provided us with another shiver moment (At this time we were out of the bath so the catalyst could only have been the narrative).  Can you guess the Unspeakable Word?  Even if you have more brainpower than us, Anthem is still a very worthy read.

Editor’s Note:  If you happen to like this one we highly recommend We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.  We’ve never read it... but we hear its Anthem before Anthem was ever written...  Plus, the work influenced several heavyweights of Dystopian Fiction: Orwell, Huxley, and Vonnegut. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top 10 books we wish we'd read as kids

The question: Top 10 books we wish we’d read as kids.

The list:
We tried to write something wildly funny about each of our top ten choices, but kept falling into the same rut.  As it turns out, there’re only so many ways to state that we really, really enjoyed these books as adults and wished we could have experienced them at a younger age.  As new(er) parents, our hope is that these same novels don’t appear anywhere near our children’s future Top 10 books they wished they’d read as kids.    

  1. The Harry Potter series
  2. Peter Pan
  3. Anne of Green Gables
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  5. The Secret Garden
  6. Matilda
  7. The Neverending Story
  8. Dragon Rider
  9. Swallows and Amazons
  10. A Series of Unfortunate Events          

Head on over to The Broke and the Bookish to join the fun!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Treasure Island

Treasure IslandTreasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Violence, Treachery, Marooning, Pirate Dialect)

“Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.”

“Let’s not get sloppy just because we’re singing.”

Why:  Imagine yourself on the deck of a massive pirate ship staring across a table at Long John Silver.  That delicious, golden tan, breaded, slightly questionable piece of seafood eyeing you into submission.  Calling your name, “eat me I’m…”  Wait, hold on a second, we’re being handed a sheet of paper...  Well, this is one of our more embarrassing intros.  Did anyone else know that Long John Silver was actually a Pirate?

Sorry for that, actually, Treasure Island is the inspiration for a whole lot more than just a chain of fast food restaurants.  Many modern day pirate stereotypes are taken from this novel – one legged pirates, parrot shoulder companions, and treasure maps marked with a fat big “X”.  The story itself follows young Jim Hawkins and his adventure as cabin boy aboard a ship in search of buried treasure.  Thanks to a wooden barrel of apples, Jim finds himself in the very center of the melee, which includes, but is not limited to; mutiny, drunkenness, marooning, and a little known sea cook named, Long John Silver. 

Treasure Island is wildly popular and has birthed countless prequels and sequels.  We enjoyed the novel immensely if for no other reason than to satisfy our endless need to understand pirate lour.  We were also very interested to read about the only man Captain Hook ever feared, as it is claimed within the pages of Peter Pan.  Don’t be afraid to unearth this literary treasure yourself...

Editor’s Note:  Regrettably, we found out after the final editorial review that one of the above quotes was in fact, not from Treasure Island, but from the equally impressive, Muppet Treasure Island.  Oops.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Hop and Follow Friday - January 21

It's time to party!!! Or at least visit a whole but of different blogs and enjoy reading the various responses to this week's questions. HOP - HOP - HOORAYYY!

Thanks to
Crazy-For-Books and Parajunkee’s View for hosting these fun events. On to the questions!

Follow Friday - What do you cheer for?
Almost 95% of our time here on earth has been spent within the state of Indiana (there was a quick 2 year hiatus in Arizona), which has caused us to be a bit fanatical about Indiana basketball. Unfortunately there hasn’t been too much to cheer about over the past few years. Beyond that, we cheer for the New York Yankees and the Miami Dolphins. We also make a habit of cheering for our children, which to this point has surrounded making it to the toilet in time and staying in the lines while coloring.

Blog Hop - Question comming real soon!

Finally, we would encourage everyone to check out our important
Literary PSA. It’s an old video post but relevant nonetheless... Plus, it will give you a behind the scenes glimpse at what goes on here at Two Bibliomanics. On second thought maybe that’s not such a good idea...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen MeanyA Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
Evan’s ESS = 6 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = R (Language, Adult Concepts, Nudity, Violence, Annoying Digressions, Wayward Baseballs)

“If you care about something you have to protect it – If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”

Why: Okay, we’ll just come right out and say it...  A Prayer for Owen Meany is a powerful, thought provoking novel with many interesting turns.  We believe however, that through the strategic elimination of 50 to 60 pages, it could have been a marvel of literature.  The main character had the annoying habit of randomly digressing into a whole host of irrelevant personal frustrations.  We get it; he’s rather angry and not exactly happy about US policy.  While his rage may have been well intentioned, for us, the way it was presented felt forced and resulted in a disjointed flow for the reader.   

On the flip side, it’s impossible to ignore the touching life story of Owen Meany.  If you’ve ever watched the ridiculously sad movie, Simon Birch, you’ll know what we’re talking about.  Even though the novel and movie are quite different, the characters of Simon and Owen are one in the same.  Despite his diminutive stature, Owen is larger than life.  Throughout A Prayer for Owen Meany you’ll have a difficult time deciding whether to laugh or cry.  And then there’s the ending (both of us cried, which is noteworthy considering only one of us has read the book thus far).  Additionally, the only way you’ll understand the meaning behind the relatively large armadillo on the front cover is to take the plunge and read the novel.

Editor’s Note:  For any of you Chicago Bulls or Los Angeles Lakers fans, this novel has often been required reading for many of Phil Jackson’s teams.  Oops, we forgot – nobody cares about NBA basketball.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ulysses Readalong - Jousting with Joyce

For almost 13 months now Ulysses has been staring forebodingly from one of our top bookshelves.  As you can see, it’s even tried to intimidate some of the surrounding novels.  We already lost a handsome edition of Rebecca, because it ventured too close... 

Additionally, last week I tried to take this photo with an older camera, but all the film disintegrated upon trying to develop the picture.  Needless to say we’ve got problems (I mean about reading Ulysses, not about us personally, well...) and the only way we’re going to tackle this one is with a group of capable readers.  For this reason, it’s with considerable excitement that we’re joining the Ulysses Readalong hosted by Fizzy Thoughts. 

The fun starts Feb 1st and honestly, it will probably take that long for us to work up the courage.  Hopefully, you’ll sign up or at least follow the carnage left behind our progress over the next 2 months!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top 10 Inspirational Fictional Characters

The good news is we actually have 10 choices this week, the bad news... actually, we don’t have any bad news.  Hooray for us!

Head on over to The Broke and the Bookish to join the fun!

The question: Top 10 Inspirational Fictional Characters.

The list:  Yes, we added the fictional part to the question, but only to qualify our picks.  As painful as it is to admit, real life heroes are probably cause for more celebration, however, fictional characters are much more fun to rank...

  1. Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – Seriously, he owned an enormous chocolate factory and by all accounts, managed to maintain a reasonable BMI.    
  2. Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter series) – Maybe Neville wasn’t the chosen one, but talk about someone rising to the occasion.  Plus, he didn’t feel the need to ransack someone’s office like one of his other Gryffindor classmates that will remain nameless.  Our only wish is that he would have been able to place a nasty spell of his choosing on Professor Snape for the brutal treatment he received for 7 years!
  3. Cassandra Mortmain (I Capture the Castle) – Rarely has someone suffered more in the name of love!  She wouldn’t settle for anything less than the real thing.  Cassandra, we truly believe you found what you were looking for in the unwritten sequel.
  4. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) – A perfect example of someone who talked the talk and walked the walk.  Plus, he’s a great dad and all around good guy!
  5. Sam Gamgee (Lord of the Rings) – This friend of friends is an inspiration to friendships everywhere. 
  6. Hassan (The Kite Runner) – Poor, poor Hassan.  “For you, a thousand times over.”
  7. Equality 7-2521 (Anthem) – When he isn’t rebelling against a repressive government he’s finding love and rediscovering electricity.  Plus, he’s not afraid to use first-person, singular personal pronouns.  On the surface this might not seem too hard core, but to the World Council, he’s like Rambo incarnate.
  8. Mr. Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox) – While his trade might not exactly be moral, remember he’s governed by the laws of the animal kingdom... don’t judge.  Nobody’s more cunning or determined to keep their family fed.
  9. Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity) – Because every now and then it takes a good ole’ fashion butt-kicking to inspire.  Jason handed out more than a few in his day.
  10. Elinor Loredan (Inkheart) – By many accounts Elinor is a true fictional bibliomaniac.  Her massive (and inspirational) home library is burnt to the ground by a group of deplorable vagabonds, yet, the travesty is met with only mild gnashing of teeth. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #1)The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
Evan’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 7.5 out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Mild Violence, Kidnapping, Voodooishness)

Why: We’ve said it at least 2 times before and we’ll probably say it again.  For now however, we’ll be content saying it in the present: we award high points to novels with completely unique narratives.  The setting for this novel takes place in Botswana and the proceedings that follow are all related to southern Africa living.  The agency’s staff is unique, the clients are unique, and the cases are unique.  Heck, even the cover art is unique. 

The woman who actually starts the detective agency, Mma Ramotswe, has a vibrant personality that resonates with the reader (this could be you).   The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is anxious to take on any case, which often leads to some very interesting events.  The cases range from not so simple mistaken identity; to work place dismemberment.  Still, Mma Ramotswe’s practical problem solving skills are fully put to the test when she is asked to locate a missing eleven year old boy.  Step aside Holmes and Spade, there’s a new sheriff in town!

Throughout The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the reader is given a delightful glimpse into the culture and traditions of Botswana.  Still, it is the characters that make this novel special.  Mma Ramotswe is larger than life in every sense of the word.  And then there’s Mr. Matekoni, who is easily the most likeable automobile mechanic in all of literature.  As to whether or not you’ll enjoy this one; there is no mystery!        

Editor’s Note: We’re extremely excited to be reading Tears of the Giraffe in the 2011 2nd challenge.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blog Hop and Follow Friday - January 14

How about instead of trying to think up some corny intro, we’ll just go ahead and dive right into the questions this week (expect our childish humor back in full force next week). 

Thanks to Crazy-For-Books and Parajunkee’s View for hosting these fun events. On to the questions!
Follow Friday - What makes up your non-human family?

In spite of the fact that some days our own children possess many non-human attributes, today is neither the time nor the place for that rant.  Our official non-human family includes 6 fish, 1 cat, and roughly 684.73 books.  The .73 was due to an unfortunate situation involving a 3 year old child and an old Stephen King paperback.  Additionally, one of us is quite fond of her Snuggie...

Book Blogger HopBlog Hop: Why do you read the genre you read?  What draws you to it?

Hold on a second while we climb up on our soap box...  We refuse to be defined by only one genre!  Or even by six.  In fact, our reading mission is to leave no genre uncovered.  We place a very high value on uniqueness and are always in search of an original voice or concept.  We will purposely delay a reading of our favorite author so that he or she can be even more appreciated at a later date while we do some good old fashion genre hopping.                                      

Also, we don’t think all the kinks have been worked out of our “Follow” button...  If you would be so kind to give it a test, we’ll make sure yours is working as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. DallowayMrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Evan’s ESS = 4 out of 10
Erin’s ESS =  out of 10
Content = PG-13 (Adult Concepts, Mild Violence, Weighty Themes, Window Jumping)

Why: Imagine an epic struggle between Vampire and Hobbit for control of the Southern Hemisphere, Dragons used as a luxury form of mass air transit, and Cotton Candy promoted as the new super-food.  While none of the aforementioned situations are found within the pages of Mrs. Dalloway, serious though, wouldn’t they make a great premise for a book?  We’ll make some calls...  Unfortunately, while reading Virginia Woolf’s famed novel all we could do was imagine a more interesting plot.

Going in we knew this was going to be a struggle and after only a few pages our concerns were realized – there would be no conceivable way for us to finish Mrs. Dalloway with a smile.  The novel possesses a certain charm, but we just couldn’t get into the characters or the plot.  As interesting as pre-party planning can be (don’t ask us about The Christmas Extravaganza 2008... seriously, don’t ask us.  It’s a very sore topic), Clarissa Dalloway’s activities and reflections were in a word: quite boring.  Don’t say it.

The themes addressed in this novel are admirable and quite weighty.  However, the way in which the subject matters are presented makes us wonder if addressing FAWR (Falling Asleep While Reading) wouldn’t have been a more prudent concern.  Fortunately for Mrs. Dalloway, her party isn’t a total bust and frankly, we’d have accepted an invitation.  Maybe we’re giving away something here, but we needed a little more content for this review.  There’re only so many interesting way to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”    

Virginia’s Woolf’s, To the Lighthouse is staring longingly from our 2011 TBR pile, but our return gaze reflects heavy eyelids and a small stream of spittle on the left side of our mouth.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Blogging / Bookish Resolutions

“Top 10 Tuesday” is back and better than ever, however, we should point out that the recent acquisition of Netflix has prevented us from fully preparing for this monumental day.   Admittedly, we probably should have started this post by highlighting the mere fact that “Top 10 Tuesday” is back and slightly lacking, but it’s too late for that now.  We would also like to draw attention to the fact that “Top 10 Tuesday” was actually never gone, although our busy schedule over the past two weeks has hindered our participation.   Now we’re rambling... This is just embarrassing...

Head on over to The Broke and the Bookish to join the fun!

The question: What are your Top 10 Bookish/Blogging Resolutions?

The list:

  1. Review at least 86.42% of the books we read – While the percentage is pretty much a shot in the dark, it seems reasonable to us.  It also seems higher than our current average; however our research department is too underfunded to know for sure.  2011 will be the year of the stat.  
  2. Complete the 100+ reading challenge – We (Evan) have never tracked the number of books we’ve (Evan) read.   We (Evan) are very interested to see if we (Evan) can read 100+ books in one year.
  3. Host / Participate in at least 1 read-alongs.  Our first experience in this arena was quite enjoyable!  We hope to replicate the genial feeling at least once in 2011.
  4. Ensure our blog does not run our lives – Okay, so this might contradict our previous ambitious resolutions, but putting boundaries on our blog is very important.  We (especially one of us) must remember that some time must be allocated to eating, sleeping and of course, raising two children. 

There you have it – “Top 4 Tuesday” is in the books.  We can only hope to do better next time.  Maybe we should have added this last thought as our final resolution...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Historian

The Historian
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
Evan’s ESS = 6 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Content = PG-13 (Violence, Adult Content, Vampires - Not the Kind with Ice Cold Abs )

Why: We would like to go on record to say that Elizabeth Kostova is one of the cruelest authors of all time.  Yep, you heard us right!  She loves to just throw out facts or new pieces of information and then revisit them two or three chapters later.  Worse, she loves to introduce some juicy tidbit and then abruptly end a chapter.  Thanks Elizabeth, thanks for nothing.

All and all The Historian was a pretty good read, despite the fact that the suspense kind of fizzled towards the end.  Also, the novel was a little heavy on the history part, although the title should provide necessary warning.  Still, chin-up, the book has plenty to offer a prospective reader.  10 years in the making, The Historian tells of the hunt for Vlad the Impaler through multiple narratives.  Letter, folklore, and some good old fashioned book research are all employed in the hunt.  While the letters contain crazy specific details and the same tone irrespective of the author, the folklore and the research deliver enough suspense to keep the reader turning the pages. Also, who would have thought Dracula was a book lover?

And now it’s time for our favorite part of the show where we try to encourage reading through the use of impressive stats (thanks for your help Wikipedia).  The Historian was the fastest selling hardback debut novel in US history as of 2005.  The novel won the 2006 Book Sense award for Best Adult Fiction and the 2005 Quill Award for Debut Author of the Year.  Plus, the blood dripping down the first addition cover is really creepy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday - January 7

It’s been two weeks since our last hop, but today we’re reemerging from our antisocial shell!!!  To prove our sincerity, we’re going to be adding a second meme to our list of Friday shenanegans – Follow Friday. 

Thanks to Crazy-For-Books and Parajunkee’s View for hosting these fun events. On to the questions!
Follow Friday - What book(s) have you discovered lately from someone’s book blog?

A question of this caliber deserves a two part answer.  First, we were recently pressured by our friend over at The 200LB Man to read Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse.  What a great recommendation and our raving review will be posted shortly.

Secondly, we’d like to thank the overall book blogging community for two reads: The Book Thief and The Hunger Games.  Both books were excellent and the many great review inspired us to remove these from our TBR pile.  Thanks everyone!

Okay, so we didn’t technically answer the question, but there you have it.

Book Blogger HopBlog Hop: What book influenced or changed your life?  How did it influence / change you?

Wow, deep question for this week.  The obvious answer for us would be the Bible, but in our fiction world there are so many books that have impacted us in small ways.  To Kill a Mockingbird was the first book to show us the power of literature.  I Capture the Castle helped us understand that it’s okay for a book to conclude without a super-happy ending (although we did grieve for about 2 months).  Bag of Bones was the first book to show us that forgiving people in the fiction world is just as difficult as it is in the real world.  There are probably 27 other novels we’d like to add, but we realize it’s important not to put our readers to sleep...      

Also, we’re a little concerned that our “Follow” button might be sticking...  If you would be so kind to give it a test, we’ll make sure yours is working as well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Book Thief

The Book Thief
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Evan’s ESS = 8.5 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Content = PG
(Adult Content, Violence, Language, Five-Finger-Reading Discounts)

Why: For some reason we get into the habit of postponing those books consistently hyped throughout the halls of literature. The only explanation that makes a little sense is that we sometimes like to ensure our TBR pile maintains a level of anticipation. It’s imperative to maintain a healthy balance of excitement between what you’ve just completed and what you’re about to complete. Well, in the case of The Book Thief we waited about 5 years too long to read this one.

We’ve heard it said before, but Markus Zusak’s novel is so much more than just a book. For starters, the narrative perspective is entirely unique and perfect for the events that take place. We are introduced to little girl named Liesel Meminger who is complex, imaginative, and courageous during one of the most turbulent periods in German history. Her journey is filled with heartache piled on top of heartache which only makes the relationships she preserves that much more significant. We also encounter one of the most touching personal diaries ever expressed in picture and word, created on the most profound medium possible. Sorry for our annoying vagueness, but we really don’t want to give anything away. We will mention that several incidences of book thievery occur...

The only thing we can’t quite figure out is why the conclusion of The Book Thief didn’t have us treading in a pool of tears. There were so many great elements, yet if there was anything lacking it was the quiver-lip factor. We wanted the dramatic elements built up a little more. Admittedly, the narrator was very upfront about his indifference for suspense, but we thought he was a little too quick to reveal certain facts. Sometimes, you just really want a book to make you bawl your little eyes dry, and in this case, it just didn’t happen. Overall though, Zusak wrote a wonderful novel and we are eagerly anticipating the release of Bridge of Clay.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Four Bibliomaniacs???

We’d like to officially introduce the two newest members of our team!  We’d also like to pose the following question:  What are some good books for young kids?  We had a lot of fun with James and the Giant Peach and are anxiously looking for our next selection.
Special thanks to Lavish Photography for capturing our families slight book addiction!     

Monday, January 3, 2011

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl EarringGirl with a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 6 out of 10
Content = PG-13 (Adult Content, Violence, Jealousy, Sudden Infectious Disease Outbreak)

Why: Girl with a Pearl Earring probably won’t change your life, unless you’re really into the Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer.  Also, in our tireless fight to prevent accidental book title confusion, be sure you don’t absentmindedly pick up Girl with a One-Track Mind, which focuses entirely on a female’s single-mindedness towards the topic of s… se… intercourse.  

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a solid historical fiction read.  Vermeer was an amazing painter and we do require you to have a copy of said artwork nearby for inspiration (don’t test us - we have ways of finding these things out).  Capitalizing on the true life mystery surrounding this painting, Ms. Chevalier is able to spin a very convincing narrative.  Enter Griet, a seemingly innocent servant who is the catalyst for much more than a portrait within the Vermeer household.  The novel is painted with wondrous detail of 17th century Holland (actually the city is located in South Holland, within the Netherlands, however both descriptions seemed laborious) and painted with enough realism that the account seems not only plausible, but the favorable choice.  The novel left us wanting a little more in the relationship building arena, but overall it was a good read.    

We’ve also been anxious to watch the Girl with a Pearl Earring owing mainly to the fact that Scarlett Johnson looks eerily similar to the individual featured in the Vermeer painting. Seriously, has anyone ever checked her bloodline?