Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Club Friday-- Beautiful Ruins and Before I Go To Sleep.

GoodReads Synopsis:  The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.  And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot-searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.  What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion-along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

My Thoughts:  This was probably my least favorite book of all 32 I've read this year.  It was the most convoluted and meandering story.  An utterly depressing read with no redeeming end made this one very difficult for me to get through.  Eventually, I just forced myself to forge ahead so I could be done.

And since I don't want to leave you with just this sour note, I want to share one of the best books I've read this year... 
GoodReads Synopsis'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...'  Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight.  And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.  Welcome to Christine's life.

My Thoughts:  Wow, what a crazy ride!  This was one of those books that left me reeling for a while in a very good way.  I kind of reminds me of the movie Memento, which was also a crazy story.  This one had so many twists and turns.  Just when you think you've gotten it figured out, then another curveball gets thrown.  Is Ben good or bad?  Does Dr. Nash have an ulterior motive?  What really happened to Christine??  When all is revealed in the end, it wasn't a huge surprise.  But it was very satisfying.  I 100% recommend this book if you like a psychological thriller.  Five stars!


  1. Thank you for the review on Beautiful Ruins...I've had it on my To Read list but somehow never end up getting it (I think it's more money than I want to spend on Kindle anyway). So now I wont waste my money!

  2. I finally got my "turn" for the ebook of beautiful ruins (not knowing anything about the actual story--just that it was a fairly popular book), but I let it expire before I even bothered to read it. And after seeing this--I'm kind of glad I did! I'll have to pick up the before i go to sleep book though! I love a good book like that!

  3. While I was in Cinque Terre I was told by many to read Beautiful Ruins since it takes place there but if you think it was that bad I will skip it!

  4. I have been waiting for someone to share this post. This has really made me think and I hope to read more. Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic.