Review of Seating Arrangements. *Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card*

I just had the honour of reading Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.

This is her first novel and I refused to read the summary before diving in to the book. I wanted to be surprised. I curled up on the sofa Friday night and started reading. All during Friday night dinner I yearned to get back to it and the moment I woke up on Shabbat I had to return to it.

Maggie Shipstead is a gifted writer. Her story takes place over a wedding weekend and illustrates the ins and outs of one WASPy family in all their glory (and shame).

The main character is Winn Van Meter, father of the bride. Ms Shipstead developed his character perfectly – you feel his pride in his children, his angst at them growing up and embarking upon the next chapter in their lives, his sorrow at various of his behaviours and thoughts. This man is obsessed with belonging – to the right golf club, the right social club. Much of his life revolves around his social club and his inability to be granted entry to the local golf club on his Cape Cod-like island.

Each character has a unique personality and Ms Shipstead is able to bring them to life with her beautiful writing. I laughed, I cried, I cringed.

This was a well-written, fun read that kept me hooked from the first page. I cannot wait to read more family dramas from Ms Shipstead. To buy your own copy of the book – here’s the Amazon link.

***Would you like to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card?***

To qualify, please leave a comment below telling me which types of books you like reading, and the name and author of the last book you read.

Contest will close Monday August 20th 2012 at 9 am. One winner will be chosen at random, and will have 24 hours to respond to the email telling them they are a winner. If no response, another winner will be chosen.

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23 responses to “Review of Seating Arrangements. *Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card*

  1. I like a lot of suspense, mystery, fantasy, sci fi, chick lit, historical…..pretty much equal opportunity. I’m in the middle of Bone In The Throat by Anthony Bourdain, and before that I read a Nora Roberts.

  2. I like various genres. Last book: The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva. Next book? Maybe Seating Arrangements! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  3. Ooh, this sounds just up my alley. I like a few different genres, but my favorite are dystopian YA novels (so sue me) & cheesy fiction designed for women, like by Jennifer Weiner or Jennifer Crusie (so sue me again). But occasionally I step it up with something with more depth!

  4. I used to really enjoy reading mysteries and political fiction especially written by Allen Drury. I now find that I now only have time for a few biographies (Steve Jobs was the last one) and books on Judaism / Israel topics. I am also reading the Prophets and am on Samuel II now.

    As an aside I always feel a little guilty reading newspapers and non Jewish books on Shabbos. How do others feel?

  5. Now you remind me, I haven’t read a good novel for ages! I’m learning Hebrew at the moment, and preparing for conversion, so basically my readings are all about religion and history. But here is a book I read a few months ago which is really close to my heart: You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of The Jewish Mother by Joyce Antler. I felt the same as you when I had to put it down. I barely ate or drank…. haha

  6. I love to read non fiction, especially biographies, historical fiction, and in between I read a good mystery to vedge out. The last book I finished was No Higher Honor by Condoleeza Rice. I loved it but I’m biased because I love politics. Read it purposefully to remind myself of foreign policy before the upcoming elections. Thank you for doing this, I am always looking for new books to read.

  7. I love all literature, from Middle English to LKH. The last thing I read was the Hunger Games Trilogy

  8. I like to read about the lives of people in other cultures and other times, especially rural life. i also like autobiographies
    the book I’m reading now is “le hussard sur le toit” by Jean Giono, the last book I finished was “la métaphysique des tubes” by Amélie Nothomb

  9. Okay, I know this sounds odd, but I have a fixation with reading memoirs by Holocaust survivors. The last one I read was The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein.

  10. Oh, where to begin… I love historical fiction, biographies, medical mysteries – pretty much anything. Quality writing helps. (cough, cough…. current Jewish fiction… cough, cough….)
    I’m currently reading The Far Side of the Sky by Daniel Kalla.
    Last book read was The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
    Best book read recently was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

  11. I like so many genres, but particularly enjoy sci fi. Just read “After the Fall Before the Fall During the Fall” by Nancy Kress. Really nice short read.

  12. I usually read romance stories. The last book I read was Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. Can’t wait for the movie!

  13. I like historical fiction and non fiction. I am actually working through Bringing up Bebe by Pamala Druckerman.

  14. I like mysteries & fiction novels. I’ve also enjoyed books by Naomi Ragen, Rochelle Krich & Faye Kellerman which have Jewish themes. In addition, I’m a fan of Jodi Piccoult among others. The book you reviewed DEF sounds like one I’d enjoy so PICK ME b/c you KNOW I LOVE to win things :)!!!!!

  15. I will read pretty much anything. Over Shabbos, I was reading a John Grisham novel. Now, I’m reading a young adult fantasy novel. I just like good writing that makes me lose myself in it. I want to feel transported to another world.

  16. I enjoy reading non-fiction books that offer an “insider’s” perspective of institutions or experiences. Last book read was Surviving the Zipper Club with a Smile by Dan Tokayer

  17. wendy greenspan

    I love historical fiction , biographies, and books about animals. The last book i read was Going Home, by Jon Katz . He writes a delightful blog called Bedlam Farm Journal as well as books about animals in his life.

  18. I like non-fiction. Last book I read was “The Power Broker” by Robert Moses.

  19. I love chick lit books – if the cover is pink, I’ll probably give it a shot. Just re-read a book by one of my favorite authors, Emily Giffin, called “Something Blue” (sequel to “Something Borrowed”)

  20. I enjoy historical fiction set in the last 150 years, the time when my great-grandparents were young till my own childhood. If the story crosses several countries, even better. .I recently finished ‘The Thread’ by Victoria Hislop. It is set in Thessaloniki and follows a Christian, A Jewish and a Muslim family as they rebuild their lives after the 1917 fire. I also enjoyed ‘The Hare with Amber eyes” by Edmund de Waal. It traces the Ephrussi family over several generations through their collection of Netsuke, small Japanese ornaments which were passed from father to son.