Nowhere Near Almost There

March 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

Almost ThereTitle: Almost There

Author: Nuala O’Faolain

I love reading for holidays.  Around Christmas, I choose appropriately wintery titles.  For Valentines Day, even though I am not a fan of the holiday, I’ll read a short cheesy love story that I would probably otherwise not pick up.  Earth Day in April calls for all things naturey and Halloween is for spooky-ness.  So of course, once a year in March, I pick up whatever I have on hand that seems the most Irish.

This year’s choice was Nuala O’Faolain’s Almost There.  It was a crappy trade paperback I got for free that I remember picking up out of a recycle bin somewhere and thinking, I would read that for St. Patty’s sometime.  Memoirs are generally quick reads too, perfect for a weekend in March.  Even more perfect, I thought, because I just finished Sheridan Hay’s The Secret of Lost Things and in the thank you’s Hay thanks O’Faolain.  I like streaming my reading along these sorts of vague connections.  Reading Almost There would be the most awesome St.Patty’s 2013 book, I thought, everything just fell into place.

Except not.

I am 29 years old.  I may have not done as much as I would have wanted by my 29th year, but I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time either.  I have 15 years of experience as a Kung Fu instructor.  I was briefly in a crappy band, my singing years better spent in a high school choir. I have waited tables, been an emergency bartender for an evening, become a “bra expert” at a lingerie store, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.  I am married, I have a child, I have worked in the book industry for six years (and have loved every minute of it) and done all kinds of book related jobs, and I am currently in the midst of publishing my first title.  In all that I have been blessed to have the opportunity to make time for my reading habits, and oh do I love to read.

I’m not bragging… there’s so much I have NOT done (like leave the country, ever!); but, in my 29 years, I’ve been busy.

I am desperately trying to get into Nuala O’Faolain’s memoir, but I can’t.  30 pages in, all we have established is that she is an older woman who feels like she has accomplished nothing.  She has no significant other, she writes a column but hasn’t done anything great in her opinion, and frankly… I just don’t get it.

Maybe I am not old enough.  Maybe I see my world in a glass half full sort of way and keep trying to figure out why being famous for an opinion column in Dublin is a bad thing.  Maybe I am sad that even though she delights in her dog, she is busier being sad about the way things ended with her ex.  30 pages or so in, I have decided that for this year, I am done.

I did, however, pick up one of her novels.  I think I’ll try that next and come back to the memoir later. I like her writing, but starting off with her Low Point has kept me in a foul mood.  I was all too happy to set it aside for M.G. King’s Fizz & Peppers and had no desire to pick it back up again.  If that’s not a sign to stop, I don’t know what is.

Have you read anything by Nuala O’Faolain? What were your favorites? Where do you recommend I begin?

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Gift Ideas for the Masses

November 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Half Price Books has these fabulous little polar bear reuseable bags for $1.98 and all these cool odds and ends (like cards and calendars) to go with them.  My idea: buy the bag and stuff it with goodies and put a big matching bow on the top.  You’ll probably save lots of money (only buy one bag per person on your list) and you wont have to wrap a thing.

What I plan to do with the bags I buy (shhh, don’t tell my friends and family – good thing they don’t read this!):

Find a book at Half Price that you think they might enjoy, its Half Price – so it wont cost you much!  Find a movie to match the theme of the book.  Ie: if you buy them a copy of Atonement by Ian McEwan, buy them the movie with Kiera Knightley as well!; if you buy them a Civil War Coffee Table book, get them a documentary too!   For kids, maybe get books that have Polar Bears in the story or on the cover: Pullman’s The Golden Compass series and maybe the movie to go with.  Obviously, there’s still space in these reuseable bags.  Bake some cookies, fudge, or candies (don’t know how, I bet Half Price or Amazon has a book on that too!).  You might also want to add a small bit of artwork from Bryan Collins, he has small easily frameable prints for sale at  This will make these gift bags more personalized and family friendly – and you’ll still save lots!

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