Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-04

This week's WG asks us what we do besides read.
Tough one. When people ask me what my hobby is, I tell them "reading," but no one has ever asked about anything beyond that!

I wouldn't call this a hobby, but it is my passion.

When I look back at what I think are some of the best days of my life (so far), most of them I spent with these people, my youth group.

What else can I say? I get really sentimental just thinking about it!

As for hobbies, I really don't do one activity a lot. I will crochet from time to time. Nothing fancy, just scarves and afghans. I like to take pictures, especially in the fall.

But, here is a spring picture for you. The really good pictures I have taken are on another computer.
And of course, I'm into music. Not any bands that most people have heard of, but they are my life's soundtrack. I listen to mostly Christian music. I think I have 12 secular songs on my ipod.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Say Whaaat #2: Bookish...Action Figures? has a...unique array of action figures. Right next to Jesus, Sigmund Freud, Bigfoot, and Moses, you can find bookish people such as Edgar Alan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen (all shown above).
The Deluxe Librarian Action Figure is probably the funniest. From the website 'Press the button on her back for the infamous “amazing shushing action!” ' But, definitely not as much fun as Deluxe Jesus's "Glow-in-the0dark miracle hands!"
"Action" Figures. With action figures, aren't little children supposed to act out scenes from superman comics? With writers, I don't think there is much action going on.
Kid 1: Hey, dweeb, what are you doing after school? Watching BARNEY? -laugh-
Kid 2: Oh no. I am going to do something way cooler! I am going to go play with my Charles Dickens action figure! He's going to act out the time where he wrote the several pages about a crack in the wall in A Tale of Two Cities!
You can imagine the rest. Imagining should be easier than figuring out how to have a good time with a literary action figure.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Month of January

Books Read: 10
*Pages Read: 3500
Titles of Books Read: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (reread), Thirteen Reasons Why, This is Chick-Lit, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Devil Wears Prada, This is Not Chick-Lit, Off the Record, My Antonia, Lock and Key
Favorite Books Read: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Least Favorite Books Read: This is Not Chick-Lit
Blog Posts: 26
Books Acquired: 1

*This number is calculated by adding the total number of pages in books read, added to how many pages of a book read but later abandoned.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

My mom and I do not have similar reading tastes, but we both read this book at the same time and enjoyed it immensely. My mom read it when she was younger and remembered liking it, so she decided giving it another try. This was my classic for the month.

And boy, was it good.

Slightly reminiscent of the atmosphere of To Kill A Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the story of Francie Nolan, a girl growing up with her family in Brooklyn. Much of her family's interesting history is recorded in this book, like of her aunt Sissy, who could never give birth to a live baby and has many husbands, all named John.

I wouldn't really say A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has a plot I can tell you. It simply follows Francie through her early years. I usually do not like books like this, but I really liked it. The combination of deep topics, hardship, and whimsical characters and circumstances make the perfect mix.

One thing that fascinated me about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the relationship between mothers and daughters. Katie (Francie's mother) gets some very cool and interesting advice after she has Francie. Katie offers interesting perspective on dating and men when Francie gets older. I can't give any of that away, it's just too good.

Definitely, this gets an A.

(This book fits into the Dewey's Books Challenge. Good one, Dewey!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Salon: Bored!

I'm going through another one of those phases again. I want to read. I want to read a lot, but I can't get into any book at all. I have so many books right now that I would love to read and be engrossed in. They are good books. Nothing is wrong with them. It's just me. Here's the books that have been in my hands the past week.

I've only finished one of these books. I have abandoned two, and and trying not to give up on the remaining two.

I finished The Second Summer of the Sisterhood. I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the things on this year's to do list is read the whole series. Right now, it is the only thing I want to read!

I had big plans for A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. A teacher of mine roccomended it to all of his students last year and the phenomenon is still happening in my school. One girl I know is using it for her senior project. I wanted to get some people to write guest posts on it after I had read it, but no deal. I was 92 pages into it then stopped. It was hideously boring to me.

I also gave up on I Don't Know How She Does it. It was supposed to be my last chick lit for my senior project, but I told myself I had read enough for the project and stopped reading two chapters into it as well.

I'm reading The Pillars of the Earth right now. The first section I read was fantastic, but I started reading another portion that is bo-ring. I'm scared of this book. It fell on my foot and it really hurt. This is not a book. It is a monster!

I'm also attempting to read The Notebook. I'm maybe 20 pages into it and it reads like a Jane Austen novel. Not good at all.

I have nine books out from the library right now and none of them are appealing. I could order the last two Traveling Pants books, but I have enough books out right now!

So, the answer to what I'm reading right now is: not much.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Say Whaaat? #1

Say Whaat? is my new feature, published once a week whenever I decide to. The purpose is to provide a funny, random post to offer some comic relief to the blog. Most of the time, it will be book related. Others, it won't. Those may get bizarre!

This week is a series of funny facts about book-related things, taken from The Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham.

'An estimated 2.5 million books will be shipped in the next twelve months with the wrong covers.'

Louisa May Alcott hated children and only wrote Little Women the book because her publisher asked her to.

'Guinness World Records hold the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries.'

'Virginia Woolf wrote all of her books standing up.'

'People in Iceland read more books per capita than any other people in the world.'

'The Bible is the number-one shoplifted book in America.'

...and some facts that aren't related to books, just for fun.

'4,000 people are injured by teapots every year.'

'Most toilets flush in E flat .'

'The largest object ever found in the Los Angeles sewer system was a motorcycle.'

'The U.S. government spent $277,000 on "pickle research" in 1993.'

Weekly Geeks #3

I am intimidated by classic literature, but I find myself loving the books I actually do read. It just takes me a while to break down and read an older book.

I know that in the Weekly Geeks post, a classic is defined as a book that is over 100 years old, but I don't want to have to check to see if each book I mention is that old. I usually consider books that are over 50 years old to be classics though.

I was scared to read To Kill A Mockingbird for English last year, but it has become one of my favorite books. East of Eden is mt favorite classic book, and is tied with another as my favorite book of all time.

I'd reccomend for people new to classics to read something written simply with an easy to follow plot, with minimal symbolism. Most people my age did not like To Kill A Mockingbird because they were not able to enjoy the story without having to analuze a bit.

East of Eden is wonderful because one can read it freely without picking it apart and still enjoy it, but more experienced classics readers can enjoy all the hidden gems the book has to offer. I know it is long, but I think East of Eden would be a good starting point.

For a smaller classic, The Pearl by John Steinbeck is good too. It is a simple story with a strong moral. I'd suggest it to any 13-17 year old who wants to get their feet wet because it is not too demanding.

I recently read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. For a classic, it is a nice change of pace. It is not stuffy. It is written beautifully but is easy to understand. The story is simple but captures the reader from the very beginning and doesn't stop until the end.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blog Improvement Project Week #2

This week's "assignment" made me think a lot. Sure, while I was reading through the post, I clicked on all the articles, read them, and did some of what they said to do. I now have a word document of my brainstorming. So, for the next few months I don't have any excuse for not having anything to blog about. I have a few fun ideas up my sleeve.


Um, sorry...

Which leads up to this...

This is my blog, obviously. I write this blog. It should reflect me. It is about books. I do the book thing quite well, but not the me thing. You probably think I am a teenager who reads a lot and thinks a lot and has no friends and never EVER gets crazy or hyper. I have too much seriousness on this here blog!

I knew a basic idea of what my new feature would be, I just didn't have the details. It's funny how the best ideas just randomly pop into your mind!

My new feature will be called "Say, Whaaat?" The purpose of the weekly post will to provide some comic relief to the blog. I've been told many times I'm a funny girl, so we'll see how I do.

I don't want to have a set day of the week for Say Whaaat? I will just post whenever I get the inspiration. My first post will be very soon. I already have my first post planned out in my mind, along with a few others.

Say Whaaat? will have posts such as these:

-Book covers found randomly while surfing the net that I found to be a bit strange/awkward/funny
-A book I own that is a little bit different than its shelf neighbors

I won't necessarily post about books all the time. But, considering this is a book blog, the majority of posts will be funny book things.

Here's a sampling of my sense of humor. This is my favorite joke of all time.

A man had three daughters.
The first daughter came up to her father and said, "Daddy, why is my name Rose?"
Her father said, "Well, when you were born, I held you in my arms looking into your beautiful face, and a rose fell out of the sky and landed on your forehead."
Rose was satified with ther father's reply and went back to her business.
The second daughter came up to her father and said, "Daddy, why is my name Daisy?"
Her father said, "Well, when you were born, I held you in my arms looking into your beautiful face and a daisy fell out of the sky and landed on your forehead."
Daisy was satisfied with her father's reply and went back to her business.
The third daughter came up to her father and said, "BLLEESHE BLARG FLAH FLAH YART!"
Her father said, "Shut up, cinderblock!"


Bet you were surprised when you clicked on this.

I'm not green any more.

I'm purple (my favorite color)!

I finally broke down and searched for a new layout. I wasn't too happy when it deleted all of my widgets, but most of them are back. I can't remember what one of the was called, but it will be back soon!

I guess this is the first big change resulting from the Blog Improvement Project!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Have you ever been lost in the library?

I have.
This picture is of the Murray Library at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania (about 10 minutes away from Harrisburg). I visited Messiah College yesterday and was in awe. I have never seen this many books in person, ever!
During the tour, we stood on a higher level just looking down on all the books. The other girl and I stood there with our mouths hanging open and not listening to a word the tour guide says.
Oh, this picture is of over 400,000 books!
After the tour, my dad and I went back to the library so I could go look at all the books. I was searching for some authors I knew of. I don't know why, but the Bronte sisters were on my mind the whole time.
I walked through the rows and rows of books, confused. There was no fiction section. The call numbers on the nonfiction were really different.
I went back to my dad really confused. he explained to me that they were organized with the Library of Congress' system.
What? I thought there was only the Dewey Decimal system!
I looked up the new classification, and for what I was looking for, I needed to search for books in the P section.
For those not familiar with this classification, here it is:
It's a bit too confusing. Even finding a book to read is going to be an adventure!

Library Loot: Jan. 21-27

Well, now that I have started the writing phase of my senior project I no longer have to read a whole bunch of chick lit! I'm so tired of chick lit! I think I got way too many books this week. Plus, I ordered some!

Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier by Ishmael Beah: A teacher of mine reccommended this book to al of his classes last year. I have big blogging plans for this one! Ah, will have to blame the blog improvement project for that one!

Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume edited by Jennifer O'Connell: This is one of the books I found by randomly browsing in the nonfiction section. It will go towards the Year of Reading Dangerously since it is nonfiction and is not a biography or memoir.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: I'm kind of scared of this one and not sure if I will actually read it or not. I have heard great things about it though and I will as least give it a try.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks: I checked out the movie of this last week but didn't get to watch it, probably for good reason too. I try to stay away from movies made from books unless most people say the movie is fantastic. the three others that will be coming in soon and the few books I still have out from last week!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just Another Errand

Going to the library has just become another errand for me. I'll order the books I want on the computer from other libraries, and when they come in I will go and pick them up. I've found that even though my library is big, its selection is lacking. We got a new library over a year ago and I've hardly spen any time in the amazing new building.

Today I made a list of books I want to read in the coming weeks since over the weekend I made a nice dent in my stack of school reading. I ordered a few books that my library did not have, but I went to the library today and took several books off the shelves for the first time in my recent memory.

I haven't been browsing through my library ever! I will browse through bookstores and then be sad because I do not have the money to buy new books. My library had a lot of books and I can take out as many as I want for free, and yet I haven't browsed.

Forcing myself to check out booksfrom the shelves and not getting someone to put them on hold for me was a great thing today. I checked out a book that was not on my list and seriously considered getting more, but still, my stack is too huge.

Many of you complain about how many books you have on your shelves that you have not read. My complaint is that I want to check out so many books but I can only read so fast!

I don't want going to the library to be yet another errand. For those of you who participate in Library Loot, I challenge you this week to go to your library without a preset list or agenda and just browse. If you usually check out fiction books, head to the nonfiction section. Check out what the children's library has that you might like to read. Give yourself enough time to browse and you'll come out with more books than you have time for!

This is Chick Lit

This is Chick Lit is a short story anthology published in response to the anthology This is Not Chick Lit, which claimed that chick lit is basically a waste of trees. I found the first anthology to be quite dull and most of the stories utterly pointless. (review:

While the book This is Not Chick Lit failed to make its claims sound reasonable, This is Chick Lit definitely showed that Chick Lit can have some importance. I've noticed that most Chick Lit focuses on one seemingly petty event throughout the whole book and then has an ending that tries to be emotional. Reading Chick Lit short stories was different. There was no time for rambling. The emotion wasn't held off until the end. I found the Chick Lit in short stories is better than reading the entire novel because with short stories, everything has to be good.

At the beginning of each story, the author of that particular story writes a little blurb about what Chick Lit means to them. This makes it so that the whole book seems like an argument. Yes, the book was published to fire back at This is Not Chick Lit, but sometimes I found the debate to be a little too aggressive in this book. The entire first short story was about two women who didn't like each other because of their conflicting viewpoints on Chick Lit.

If you ignore all the arguing in this book, you may notice that the stories are a bit different. Instead of just reading Chick Lit just for the sake of it, you may notice that this anthology is a celebration of Chick Lit. Each one of the authors had some point to make with their short story. It wasn't all fluff with this book, although there is plenty of that.

Grade: B+

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Salon

Where there's nothing else to do, read your heart out.

I'm still at my grnadparents' house and reading like crazy. I planned on reading much more than this, but since thursday evening, I have finished The Devil Wears Prada, almost finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and read 2/3 of This is Chick Lit, along with a few chapters of Thirteen Reasons Why. I have a few more hours to spend here and I hope to finish either A Tree Grows in Brooklyn of This is Chick Lit. A Tree Grows in Booklyn is more likely though.
I thought that the senior project reading would never end, but I am coming into the homestretch. I just realized that I may have to start a list of what books to order from the library pretty soon. This is exciting. I love making lists.
This senior project is kind of tricky, but it is cool to read chick lit in an analytical way. Chick lit is meant to be fun, lighthearted reading but I am reading it as I would read "literature." I have been thrust full force into the chick lit debate. I'm not sure exactly where I standm but I'm sure that later on I will have a post on that! Chick lit can offer a lot more than a cute story if you really search for it. For example, in The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea's job keeps her from her friends and family. Sure, you could pull something out of that like "nake sure your work life has boundaries," but I got something more. We all have an empty space that wants to be filled with something. Much of chick lit focuses on charcaters searching for true love to fill that empty space. What am I trying to fill my life with? What do characters in other genres attempt to fill their lives with?
See, chick lit CAN be deep!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Songs

Don't get me wrong, I love books, but music also shares a piece of my heart. My favorite song changes daily. What is is today? "Hello" by Hawk Nelson. I go for good lyrics more than a good sound, although it does help a lot.

I mainly listen to punk/pop/rock Christian music. I listen to Switchfoot, Stellar Kart, Relient K, Everyday Sunday, Starfield, Lifehouse...

Oh, yeah. I hate it when girls sing. It's always too whiney.

Instead of posting the lyrics to some of my favorite songs of all time, I'm just going to put some snippets of songs that are on my mind right now. I never really like it when people post the lyrics to entire songs and expect everyone to like to read them!

"I'm overdressed for success/In a world that has no shame/I've had enough of seeing love/Being played like some game/I know why the good old days are gone/Cause everyone just tolerates whats wrong/I'm not some empty space for rent." (Innocent, Stellar Kart)

Just like books, songs make statements about society. I love the statement "Innocent" makes. Sometimes I feel like the only 17 year old girl who isn't dressing innapropriately and going from guy to guy.

"I turn into the world's worst Romeo, everytime I try to say Hello." (Hello, Hawk Nelson)

I love Hello because the tune is really cute and catchy, but also because it has some lyrics in French and is kind of funny.

Then there's those songs that are just these anthems of how great God is, like this one.

"I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all..." (The Stand, Hillsong).

...or the ones that make me think. It's tempting to post this whole song, but I won't!

"To label me a prodigal would be only scratching on the surface of what I've been known to be." (Undo, Rush of Fools)


"I know sometimes it's hard to find the strength to turn the page, when all of our tomorrows look like used up yesterdays." (One Little Miracle, Hawk Nelson)

One time I heard at a concert something like this:

With secular music, all you can say it "I love you," "I hate you," "Go away," or "Come back."

With the music I listen to, it says much more than that. Even the secular songs I listen to I interpret differently. If I don't feel any different after hearing a song, it is useless to me.

Just like with books.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is Not Chick Lit

(from "Chick lit: A genre of fiction that often recycles the following plot: Girl in big city desperately searches for Mr. Right in between dieting and shopping for shoes. Girl gets dumped (sometimes repeatedly). Girl finds Prince Charming. This Is Not Chick Lit is a celebration of America’s most dynamic literary voices, as well as a much needed reminder that, for every stock protagonist with a designer handbag and three boyfriends, there is a woman writer pushing the envelope of literary fiction with imagination, humor, and depth. The original short stories in this collection touch on some of the same themes as chick lit–the search for love and identity–but they do so with extraordinary power, creativity, and range; they are also political, provocative, and, at turns, utterly surprising. Featuring marquee names as well as burgeoning talents, This Is Not Chick Lit will nourish your heart, and your mind. "

Let me say, the introduction to the book is fabulous. It really gives some insight into what chick lit is, its flaws, and its good features.
Yes, the short stories in this book touch on some of the same themes chick lit does, but not really. I'm not a big short story fan. I've only read two I've actually liked. But, I thought most of the stories in the book were nothing to write home about.
For a book that attempts to bash chick lit, I thought it was a bit hypocritical. It portrays chick lit to have no substance. Most of the stories do not. The stories were supposed to be a substitution for chick lit, but were written in such a way that my AP English teacher would have loved to use in school: boring, plotless, and written with a "I'm smarter than you" attitude.
I'd rather have chick lit any day.
Grade: D
Coming up: The book that was published in response to This is Not Chick Lit, This is Chick Lit!

Library Loot

I went to pick up a book I requested and only came out with that book and two DVDs! I'm so proud of myself. I need to finish the ginormous stack I have before I can go to the library again.

I got:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Notebook (DVD, I've never seen it!), and About a Boy (DVD).

Yeah, I know, definitely not as interesting as last week.

Hopefully next week I'll actually be able to return some books. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So much to do...

This weekend is going to be GET IT DONE weekend.

I need to have one book read every three days in order to finish all the reading for school. Since I will be at my grandparents' this weekend, I will have a lot of time! I need to be reading a ton. It seems that I'm reading a lot, but I can't manage to finish a stinking book...

Since my grammy is teaching me to drive, hopefully by this time next week I will be pretty much ready to take my test. I'm spending the weekend with her, so there will definitely be some opportunities to drive.

In a little over a week, I will know what college I am going to!

Lots of stuff coming up, maybe I do have an excuse for not reading much.

Um...I don't think so!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Salon?

(The books that you will be hearing about in the next several weeks)

I was going to begin doing The Sunday Salon, but on Sunday I won't be around. Plus, nothing will change since I do not plan on reading this weekend.
So here is my first unofficial Sunday Salon Post!

I started A Tree Grows in Brooklyn a few days ago and I am enjoying it immensely. I have a good feeling that this will become one of my favorite books. I've already read the portion that I need to for Rory's Book Club ( but I am still reading it. I could incorporate it into my senior project if I wanted to, but I am not. This is my only planned pleasure reading this month.

I've also just begun The Devil Wears Prada for my project. I can already see the difference between the book and the movie...oops. I watched the movie before even knowing there was a book version of it!

I've come across two short story anthologies that may prove useful for my senior project, This is Chick Lit and This is Not Chick Lit. After I get back from my little weekend getaway, I will start either one.

But, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn totally has me hooked. I should be reading for school, but I am loving this!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Off the Record

(Synopsis from "Jane Marlow is a true-blue good girl: plain, predictable, and perfectly responsible. But when her brother catches an episode of Music One's "Off the Record," he discovers that former pop sensation Teddy Rock is actually their childhood neighbor Theodore Brockford, and that his one-hit wonder twelve years earlier wasn't just a catchy tune that took the charts by storm-it was a song about Jane Marlow! Now Jane has a chance to live life off the record, but is she ready for the changes it brings? And even if she's willing to take the risk, is she willing to face the music?"

Off the Record started out a bit slow for me, but once it picked up it turned out to be an enjoyable read. It really takes the angle of "Who Am I?" in the end. It has only a small amount of romance in it, compared to other chick lit.

The who am I dilemma makes the book a little too sugary and preachy. The song that Jane Marlow is in talks about her like she is some sort of sex goddess. Jane tries to fit into that image, but realizes it's not her.

That's basically the book. If you have nothing better to do (which you probably do) it's a cute read.

Grade: C

Booking Through Thurday: The Best

"It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?"

I didn't read many books published in 2008, but the few that I did made an impression on me. These three books are the best of 08 and are on the top of my entire reading for the year!

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:

I didn't think this was published in 2008, but Barnes and Noble says it was. I loved both the Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I read both without putting them down, quite literally. I read during classes and when I didn't have to sleep or eat. Hosseini's books taught me to read something new and interesting. I probably wouldn't have liked A Thousand Splendid Suns if I had read it earlier, but these books have changed how I pick out books.

The Kite Runner was difficult to read because of some content matter, A Thousand Splendid Suns even more so. I still found it to be a great book despite some scenes that were a little too graphic.

Scheisshaus Luck by Pierre Berg:

I'd just be repeating myself over again if I talked about it now. The review I posted is short and sweet. Find it here:

It's better than Night, The Diary of Anne Frank, and all of the other Holocaust literature I have read! I love the cool angle on the story. This memoir definitely earned its spot on my list!

In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed:

I talked about this book so much that my mom went and bought it and read it. She didn't like it as much as I did, but this menoir offered a glimpse into a society I have not read much about. It's not something you can just read. ou have to digest it. There is so much to learn about in this book it's almost insane!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Antonia

by Willa Cather
My Antonia is the story of Antonia, an immigrant girl, through the eyes of her neighbor, Jim. Like many of Cather's works, it is set in Nebraska. Cather loves Nebraska and lets that show through her writing. Jim and Antonia never had a romantic relationship, but something is unique about their relationship. My Antonia deals with the struggles of immigrants, farmers, and of women all at once.
Cather does a wondeful job describing how difficult life was for these groups of people. Not only by telling their stories, but taking time to explain the general situation.
The book takes on a carefree, but serious attitude as much of the story is told through the eyes of a child. My Antonia follows Antonia and Jim from ten years old to about sixty. Most of the book takes place before Jim goes off to college.
I read O Pioneers! by Willa Cather about a year ago and I really enjoyed it. O Pioneers and My Antonia are like Little House on the Prarie, with more depth. For those who loved Little House on the Prarie, but have moved on to "Big people" books, Cather is a wonderful place to start.
Although I enjoyed O Pioneers! more than My Antonia, it was still an enjoyable read.
Grade: B
Bethany ( REALLY enjoyed My Antonia. Check out her review!

Library Loot

Eva ( had a really good idea, similar to Mailbox Monday. I don't get any books in my mailbox unless I win a giveaway, which has only happened once, so I feel left out.
I get all of my books from the library unless I need them for school. I wanted to ask Eva if I could steal her awesome idea off of her, but now I don't have to. She is opening this event up to all of you!
I'll post every week what books I have out of the library at the moment. I stop at the library several times a week, so it changes frequently. This post is not just to document what I got each week.
The Journals of Sylvia Plath: I read 200 pages of it for school then stopped. It's on its way back home now.
I Don't Know How She Does it by Allison Pearson: This has been out a while. I'm reading it for my chick lit project.
Off the Record by Jennifer O'Connell: Another chick lit for school, I'm halfway done.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: This month's selection for Rory's Book Club ( and it happened to be what classic I was going to read this month. Super!
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger: Another chick lit. Haven't started this one either!
And I'm about to go pick up:
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares: To re-read
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares: To read so I can watch the movie.
This is Not Chick Lit: For the project

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blog Improvement Project Week 1: Setting Goals

I started out this blog a few months ago just to post my impressions of books I read so I could go back and remember. I have read many books in my time on the Earth, but I only remember the really good ones. I wanted to remember all of the books!

I still don't remember all of the books I have blogged about, but I have learned that writing (or typing) things makes it easier to remember. I still forget things, and every so often I look back at a few past posts to read past reviews and reflect on my reading progress.

In the few months I have been blogging, I think my posts have changed quite a bit. Maybe you have noticed that the past few books I have posted about have been a little bit different. I think they are better! I am actually proud of those posts.

What I didn't expect to come from this blog was a whole community of book bloggers. I didn't even know it had existed! Until Ronnica from the Book Nook Club found me in a search and posted on my blog, I didn't know. I'm glad she did because if she hadn't my blog would be very different.

With the unexpected things, I have some new goals. Every time the number of followers I have changes, I get excited. To many of you, the number I have is pitiful, but I'm happy to know that even those few still read my blog regularly. I'm still at the point that I am excited to get comments.

My goals for this year:

1. Write better reviews, not only for me to remember, but for readers to enjoy. I will focus more on why or why not you should read the book.
2. Do anything I am able to get more people reading my blog. I blogged for selfish reasons in the beginning, but now it is not just about me. I want the blog to be more than just about me. I look at book blogs where people have whole discussions through comments. I want my blog to be like that.
3. Make my posts nice-looking. I can't get someone to make the blog as a whole look pretty, but I can make every effort I can to make each post look nice. I don't post enough pictures. I've noticed that if something is broken up with pictures, I'm more likely to read it.
4. I want to find something I can do to contribute to the book blogging community. Maybe I will host a challenge next year, maybe I can donate money or books to someone else's giveaway or event. Who knows!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

My mom wants one of these.

You can dowload books cheaply onto it (but the device is really expensive). Not to mention it does a whole bunch of other things, but the main function is to read books.

Oprah has one.

Now, I know that wasn't exactly relevant, but you know what happens when Oprah likes something. Everyone rushes out to buy one.

I think the Kindle is a bit odd. I don't want one. I've tried to read books off of a computer screen and it wasn't fun. My dad's words are right. There's just something about turning a page. I like seeing how much I have progressed on reading a book.

If you download books onto the Kindle, you only have them in that format. Your bookshelf books will become lonely. Just as turning the page is satisfying, so is seeing all the books on your bookshelf.

You can't carry around a book in your purse, or like me, on top of a stack of schoolbooks through the hall. No one will see your book and comment on it, leading to some interesting conversation. The conversation will be about the technology of the Kindle. Kindle sharing will be like having a friend say "Let me see your phone" so they can see what features you have that they don't.

The one cool thing about the Kindle is that you can download a book from anywhere. If you are bored sitting in an airport, download something on your TBR list!

But still, I'd rather pack too many books in my carry-on!

What do you think about the whole Kindle thing?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Lock and Key

Synopsis from "After her mother abandons her, Ruby Cooper is flying below the radar of officialdom and trying to make it to her 18th birthday, when she’s busted by the landlord and turned over to social services. Ruby gets taken in by her estranged sister, Cora, who left for college a decade earlier and never looked back, and Cora’s husband, Jamie, the wealthy founder of a ubiquitous social networking site. Resentful, suspicious and vulnerable, she resists mightily, refusing the risky business of depending on anybody but herself, and wearing the key to her old house around her neck."

I've read several other of Dessen's novels in tha past and I was really impressed how it's very chick-lity but still has touches of reality. Ruby's circumstances aren't perfect. Everything doesn't end up perfect.

Although I read this book for a feminist paper, I couldn't find anything in it to use in the paper. Maybe it's because I devoured the book, never stopping to analyze it. The new girl in school circumstances and how she meets Nate, the boy next door reminded me of Twilight. The combination of quirky yet touching characters like Harriet and Reggie reminded me of Rachel Cohn's Gingerbread series.

I used to wear a key on a necklace around my neck. The key meant a lot to me. It didn't open anything. It was later joined by a puzzle piece charm. I wore the necklace every day as a reminder of something so special to me. I lost that necklace this June and never found it. Ruby's necklace made me want my necklace so much that I got another key charm and made a necklace out of it. The original key was so special to me, but it still means the same thing.

Sure, most of my impressions of the book was based on my key necklace story. But even if you never wore a key on your neck, this is a nice change from the usual teen fiction book.

Grade: B

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Final Booklist

I will be removing 2008's books read from my sidebar to make room for 2009.

Some information may be inaccurate in my December and 2008 final posts because of all of my computer storage issues. This is the most accurate list. My total for this year is 66.

Bridget Jones’s Diary
As I Have Loved You
The Father Christmas Letters
The Last lecture
The Book That Changed My Life
Pomegranate Soup
A Christmas Carol
Dating daVinci
The Christmas Candle
Memoirs of a Giesha
In The Land of Invisible Women
Dream Factory
Girl, 13
The Nanny Diaries
Girl Overboard
Pardon My French
Schiesshaus Luck
The Uncommon Reader
Through the Looking Glass
The Old Man and the Sea
Alice in Wonderland
Of Mice and Men
Howl and Other Poems
Westminster Abby
The Book Thief
Franny and Zooey
The Know-it-All
East of Eden
Under the Overpass
The Year of Living Biblically
The Kitchen god’s Wife
Life of Pi
Crime and Punishment
A Million Little Pieces
So Super Starry
Getting the Boot
The Poisonwood Bible
The Prayer of Jabez
Digital Fortress
Angels and Demons
Who Moved My Cheese?
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Rahab’s Story
The DaVinci Cod: A Fishy Parody
The Pearl
The Crucible
The Case for a Creator: Student Edition
Ethan Frome
The Secret Garden
Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi
It’s Not About Me
O Pioneers!
The Great Gatsby
The Kite Runner
Kids are Americans Too
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Booking Through Thursday: Resolutions

"So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?
Name me at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!"

How's this for my first post of the new year? I've already posted my resolutions for the year, so I am focusing on the question about what I am looking forward to reading in the next year.

-Finishing the Twilight series. To my surprise I actually enjoyed the first book. As I anxiously await the other books coming in from the library (just like some people waited for the books to be released), I still need to have a lot of other reading, considering I'll get a new Twilight book every other month or so.

-Wuthering Heights: This is required reading for my English class. I do not know when we will be reading it, but I'm looking forward to it.

-The Graveyard Book: I feel like the only person that hasn't read this yet! I need to get on it!

-The Grapes of Wrath: I'm definitely getting around to reading this as a part of my personal classics challenge. East of Eden and The Pearl are two of my favorite books, so I have high expectations for The Grapes of Wrath.

-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: I'm reading this book this month. I hope I can get around to reading one book for pleasure since I'm reading tons of books for a school project!

-The Lovely Bones: My mom and I just bought this. It's been on my TBR list for a while and I'm anxiously waiting for the day when I don't have six other books to read for school.

-The Little Prince: I have to read this. I'm going to minor in French. All but one of the challenges I am in can use this title. I need to read it!

-Anne of Green Gables: This is a reread, and I hope watching the movie will accompany it. I do stay away from book movies, but I love this movie version!

-Finishing the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series: I've only read the first book and watched the first movie. I really should get around to finishing this cute series.

I tried to stay away from listing all the books I should read this year. These are the books that are very highly prioritized. I have a longer list of books I'd like to read this year, but I know I won't be able to. I'd only get around to it if I only read the books on the list. I wouldn't be able to read a review about a really good book just released and order it from the library. I need that spontaniety to keep me sane and keep this reading habit of mine fun!

There are a few others on my list that are must reads for me. I want to keep those a secret for a while, since I have a feeling they are going to be special books. Those reviews will be something you won't want to miss out on!