Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Its seems I've been on a somewhat unintended, yet rather necessary, little hiatus.

It all started with a book: "American Wife" - and once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. And while I was reading that, I should have been reading this: "When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present." So this week, I've been curled up on the couch, a mug of hot tea by my side, and a copy of "When Everything Changed" in my hands. I've been hibernating and its delightful!

Delightful and productive ... I finished "When Everything Changed" yesterday afternoon, just in time for my book club's discussion of it tonight. Phew! I've been part of a book club for the past 12 years and I love it. Prior to joining the club, I probably wouldn't have picked up a book like this, as I vastly prefer fiction to non-fiction. But that's the great thing about a reading group, it stretches one's boundaries.

Written by Gail Collins, and published just last Fall, "When Everything Changed" is a remarkably informative history of American women's lives over the past 50 years. Chronicling everything from politics to fashion, the sexual revolution to changes in family dynamics, this book offers a broad yet intimate perspective on the struggle of women to gain parity in all facets of society. Collins uses a deft mix of historical record and personal stories to tell the tale; weaving together the accounts of "average" American women with those of the famous (i.e. Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan - and even Sarah Palin, among others) to create a history that's as compelling as it is informative.

While I greatly enjoyed this book, I must say that I preferred Collins' first book in the series - "America's Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines" ... and I think its because of my age. I've lived through most of what was written in "When Everything Changed" and, save for the parts related to the early 1960's - I remember it all. "America's Women" begins with the history of our country ... and I'm not that old, so, consequently, it was more illuminating for me. It will be interesting to see how the rest of my group feels.

That said, I do recommend it. In fact, I recommend all three of the books I've mentioned. February is such a dreary month - though there's something almost inviting about that dreariness. The bitter temps and snowy skies seem to issue an invitation to simply curl up and read; to ignore the necessary and escape to other climes, other countries, other times. I've already succumbed to the siren's song of my next book: "Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris" ... and I probably don't need to tell you where I'll be spending the rest of this day ... mentally in Paris, physically on my couch.

I know I've got a foodblog to run here and I promise I'll get back to it. The husband will need to eat again at some point, after all.

For now, what are you reading? Curious and cozy Diva wants to know!

Happy Reading!


Mo Diva said...

Im reading Mercy by Jodi Picoult... i always love her books and get sucked into them. i love how she gives the perspective of everyone in the book!

I am so intrigued by your book! I would never think to pick up a non-fiction book but i trust your judgement.

Dana McCauley said...

When Everything Changed sounds like it should be essential reading for every young woman born after 1975 - it's amazing to me how so many younger women and girls don't realize how recently their right to do so many things without criticism and with absolute freedom became a reality.

I'm a voracious reader of fiction. I'm reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie b Alan Bradley right now. It's a mystery - not my usual forte - but I'm enoying it. Best book I've read in the last six months (out of at least 20 books) is the Book Thief. I highly recommend it.

Megan said...

I read tons of food books. I've been in the middle of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti for a while now. I find myself having less and less time to read, but it's nice to be able to read a few pages here and there when I have a little time.

Skip2Malou@IMPROMPTU said...

you are so right... it's cold outside,it's gray alright so it's a good excuse to curl up in bed with a great read.... im actually reading A Homemade Life right now, and i'm captivated by its charm!
like you i also know i have a food blog to keep but yeah i have to give some time to do it soon too haha!
enjoy reading diva!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Now that sounds like a book I would really like!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Mo - non-fiction can be tough for me, but due to my book club, I end up reading a fair bit of it. This one doesn't read like a textbook - which is a good thing! Funny, as much as I read, I've never read Jodi Picoult. Will have to look into her!

Dana - I agree that it should be required reading ... it can be easy to take the freedoms we enjoy for granted, even for those of us who lived through the major changes.

I enjoy the occasional mystery too ... and I really like that title. Once consequence of reading so much ... I sometimes can't remember what I've already read - The Book Thief is a case in point. I need to google to see if its as familiar as I think it is! LOL

Megan - what a great title! I'm going to have to check out "I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti" too!

Impromptu Diva - another great suggestion. I love a book that charms. Thanks!

Katherine - I do think you'd enjoy this one. Its a really nice mix of the broad history and personal stories ... which are so engaging.

Thanks for all the great book suggestions here - and keep 'em coming! :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Why is it that you can read a book with only a slimming cup of tea, and moi needs a big plate of cookies?
I am partial to the trashy romance novel myself. I rarely read non fiction.
*kisses* HH

The Diva on a Diet said...

HH - in this case, its because there are no cookies in the house! LOL


Christina said...

I just finished reading Heat Wave by Richard Castle - only it's not really - it's from ABC's show "Castle" starring Nathan Fillion. I saw it in the library and almost peed my pants in excitement that they crossed from TV to real life.

Also Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life - the Chelsea Lately lady. A book about her sexcapades. Lighthearted fun.

And last was Nicholas Sparks' latest novel The Last Song which will also be a movie later this year! Yippee!

Molly said...

I enjoyed the American Wife too, right now I'm in the middle of The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. It's about Dracula. I'm a big fan of vampire books and movies, this was waaaaay before the whole Twilight craze.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Christina - I'm not familiar with Castle - either the TV show or the book, will have to check it out. I'll bet "My Horizontal Life" is a fun little romp. I love a light-hearted book too.

Molly - oooh, excellent recommendation! I love, love vampire stuff too. "The Historian" is going straight onto my must-read list. Thanks!

Deb said...

I just finished the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of fellow readers telling me it was awful. I do love his books but Angels and Demons is still my favorite.

pixelgal said...

My favorite Diva gave me American Wife which I loved and have since recommended to my book club. The next one on our list is "The Help".
It's a nice thick book, perfect for cocooning with some Vosges chocolates (are you there, Maggie?)
I'm also reading 'forever' by Pete Hammill which is just OK. Anyway, a reading break is just what the Dr. ordered and guaranteed to help you through the doldrums. Go for it!

Ca88andra said...

I just finished reading Ellen Burstyn's autobiography, which made me want to watch "The Exorcist" and "Requiem for a Dream". My youngest son (17) watched the last one with me, which was probably a mistake because I didn't realise it was rated R18+ until half way through it. Oh well, he's nearly 18... She is an excellent actress and I really enjoyed reading her life story.

My next reading material will be the books I have to read for study...

stephchows said...

That reminds me of a book I read in high school (The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls) it was wicked good. I reread it a few years ago. Currently I'm reading Body and Soul - good so far!

Jennie said...

There's nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a good book on a cold and dreary February day. I will have to check this one out. It sounds great!

Lisa Michelle said...

Gosh, I haven't read a good book in a while. However, I'll take that yummy looking hot beverage (is that cinnmaon hot chocolate?) I need to get back to the books..i'm starting to lose brain cells lol