Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

I wish this were a review of another Hitchhiker's book, because that would mean nothing is changing.

I knew once I left for college, I would blog a lot less, but I thought I would have a whole summer to read a bunch!

I will be leaving June 7 for a place where I won't be able to access a computer very often. I will be a worker in the kitchen at Whitehall Camp. I will return home August 14 and then go to college August 27.

There are so many loose ends to tie up and this blog is one of them. I will get to read some over the summer, but not a lot and nothing worth reviewing.

You're probably thinking "June 7? That's still a few weeks away!" I'm a senior in high school. I have finals, graduation banquets and parties, friends and family to say goodbye you guys!

I'll miss you all. Thank you for all the comments you have left me and all the support in this 7ish months I have been blogging. It has been a blast. I'm not saying I'm completely quitting, but I am at least for the summer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Salon Senioritis (woo! alliteration!)

I haven't read in over twenty four hours.

I haven't felt like doing ANYTHING for weeks now. I didn't think this would spread to reading and blogging, but it has.

The only thing I want to do is go on facebook, sleep, and time travel into the future.

So please forgive me. I want to read, I just haven't convinced myself that I should quite yet.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Miscellaneous Book Babble

1. Right now, reading seems pointless. Seven out of the past ten books I've read were above average, most of them really good books! I don't want to pick up another book because I don't want to be disappointed!

2. One book was so good, I read it while walking in gym class yesterday. My head got hit really hard by a basketball. Serves me right?

3. I got a paper back I wrote on I Capture the Castle two days ago. The guy who plagiarized every word got a better grade than I did. I didn't think my English teacher could get any more clueless!

4. Have you read the guest review of My Sister's Keeper yet? (

5. My dad got an alumni publication from the college I'm going to. They will be celebrating their centennial my first year! In the magazine, various Messiah College personalities chose a book to define each of Messiah College's ten decades. Like I really needed more proof that this is the place where I belong! Here are the selections:
1909-1919: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
1920-1929: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
1930-1939: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
1940-1949: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
1950-1959: Reforming Fundamentalism by George Mason
1960-1969: The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
1970-1979: The Purple Decades by Tom Wolfe
1980-1989: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
1990-1999: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2000-2009: The Philadelphia Chickens by Sabdra Boynton

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Gluttony

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

I don't buy books very often, so I'm applying this post to my Library habits.

My mom freaks out when anyone wastes food, so her attitude towards wastefulness has shaped me, too. We don't waste things that she buys from the store. If leftovers are not eaten, behold the wrath of mom.

There is a different rule for food if we go to a buffet or a salad bar. Mom tells us we can get our plate of food and if we don't like it, get another plate. We can waste all we want at a buffet.

I think of bookstores as the grocery store. Don't waste what you buy. The only books I buy are the ones I know I like already, or dirt cheap. The library is where you can take all you want and return what you don't want.

I've come home from the library with huge stacks the past couple of trips. I feel like a complete dork with a stack of ten books. I feel fat. (You know, when people see a skinny girl stuffing her face, they give her looks like she's fat.) I have to remind myself of mom's buffet rule. Library books can't go to waste, so you can take all you want. There is no such thing as gluttony at a library, unless you take out more than the limit and try to find ways to be able to take out more.

I definitely think people are gluttonous at the bookstore. Why do you need to own all these books? Unless you are the type that finds a couple dozen really good books and keeps on rereading those over and over again (like my dad), why do you need to buy the books? You don't need to own them unless you have to keep taking them off your shelf. Otherwise, read it, review it, and return it to the library! The trees will thank you :P

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

GUEST REVIEW: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, reviewed by Jenny

(Inspired by Eva and her mom read-a-thoning together, I've been wanting my family to join in on a little bit of reading fun. My mom, Jenny, is reviewing My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult here on my blog. She definitely will offer you a different review from the ones I post. It is nice to have a change of pace every once in a while!)

(From Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister — and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

Without first knowing it would contain everything I like in a book under onecover – medical, mystery, legal/ethical dilemma, I found myself drawn to MySister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult who I have never read before.

On the one hand the way the book is written (in multiple points of view) really draws you in. At the same time it jumps around so much that it circumventsthe entire telling of the most important discussion of the book (Kate and Annatalking about Anna’s donating a kidney to Kate).

I mistakenly read the book so I could figure out if Kate gets her kidneyinstead of reading it as a mystery trying to solve why Anna files the lawsuitfor medical emancipation other than “so you know how it feels to not have anycontrol over your body?” as stated on page 387.

The book is about two sisters, Kate and Anna, who are closely linked by medicalcircumstances. I too was close to my sister although for very differentreasons. I am 10 months and 3 days older than my sister. So strong was ourbond that my mother dressed us alike until we were about 10 years old and weshared a bedroom till I was about 15 years old. It is this reason I “get”how hard it is to form one’s own identity.

Sisters, Kate and Anna are so close in fact Anna says on page 92, “ Kate andI are like Siamese twins; you just can’t see the spot where we’reconnected.” During the court proceedings, the defendant’s expert witness,a psychologist states on page 387, “there are several studies that indicatechildren who serve as donors have higher self-esteem, and feel more importantwithin the family structure. They consider themselves superheroes, becausethey can do the one thing no one else can.”

During the course of the book I never stop questioning Anna’s mother’s(Sara) love for her. Can you love equally and still favor one child? Idon’t believe so especially since the “love” Sara has for Kate seemssolely based on keeping her family intact. So their mother’s choices forthem are fear based instead out of love. Although any mother may desire thisit also seem selfish to me.

Sadder even still is that Sara has managed to convince Anna she’s made thesechoices out of love. If that were so, wouldn’t her parents have discussedthe situation with both girls? Her parents major failing is they don’t askeither girl’s feelings.

So here’s the part where my motherly advice comes to play. All parents messup – if only in our children’s eyes. No matter how good our intentions,WE WILL MESS UP!!! Our best chance in nuturing our children’s love is togive them what they most desire - equality. Children can forgive our mistakesif they felt loved. (Love is the only thing that covers a multitude ofmistakes.) Love cannot blossom if there is a preference shown for one childover another.

Even though it’s a long shot, it is possible to figure out if Anna wins thelawsuit; however, you won’t be able to figure out how it ends!!! The endingmay be the worst ending I’ve ever read. So bad, in fact, I threatened totear out the last couple chapters and instead write the answer to does Kate getthe kidney? before passing it onto my daughter. Even though I am a parent I did not relate or empathize with Sara. Herdecisions wind up being disastrous because someone dies without ever havingfelt accepted, which is the worse than the books actual ending.

WARNING: If you’re one of those who read the last couple of pages of a bookto decide if you want to read a book, DON’T!!!! or you will miss out onreading a overall very satisfying book. . . regardless of the ending.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Review: The Jewel of Medina

I'm doing this review dewey-Style, with portions of her book review questionnaire
Title and author of book: The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Adult Historical Fiction

What led you to pick up this book? I'm not sure. I think I saw it on the librarything early reviewer list

Plot summary: A'isha is pledged to be married to the prophet Muhhamad at a very young age. She marries him but can't live with him until she becomes a woman. When she finally lives with Muhammad, she finds that she is treated more like Muhammad's daughter than his wife. A'isha is not the typical woman of her time. She goes from being Muhammad's child bride to his warrior bride. A'isha learns what real love is and struggles to find her place among Muhammad's many wives.

What did you like most about the book? I've read many books that retell the story of women in the Bible, but this book was interesting because even though a lot of the treatment of the women is the same, it is a different religion and different customs.

What did you like least? Muhammad was protrayed very negatively. If I practiced Islam, I'd be outraged. Muhammad is the prophet of Islam, basically the Jesus of Islam. I wouldn't want a book portraying Jesus this negatively.

What did you think of the writing style? It was confusing at times because the author liked to show off her knowledge of Arabic terms.

What did you think of the main character?What is the central character’s biggest problem? A'isha struggles to control herself and find her place in Muhammad's life. I liked how she was a rebel, but wanted to wring her neck every time she acted without thinking, which always messed up her relationship with Muhammad for a while.

What strengths does she have that help her cope? She relies on other people. Muhammad's first wife is often there to console A'isha, and sometimes she goes to her father. Although A'isha is very independent, she knows when to ask others for help too.

Any other particularly interesting characters? Safwan, the man A'isha thought she would marry, is pretty interesting. Although he adds a soap opera like aspect to the story, it is not unwelcome.

What did you think of the ending? I thought the book could have ended earlier. There is a bittersweet ending that is unnecessary. If the book ended only a few chapters earlier, It would have had a fantastic ending.

Do you recommend this book? If you use a rating system, what’s your rating? I do recommend this book, especially for those who like Biblical fiction (like The Red Tent). I'd give this book a B

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Review: 3 Willows

Did anyone else not know there was something more to Ann Brashares other than The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?
Well, there is. Brashares has writte two other books besides the major four: The Last Summer and 3 Willows. 3 Willows as just published this year.
The subtitle of 3 Willows is "The Sisterhood continues." I thought that maybe this was a book telling what happens to the sisterhood when they are all grown up, but it is not. 3 Willows still takes place in Bethesda, where Carmen, Lena, Tibby and Bridget live, but this book focuses around another circle of much younger girls.
Jo, Polly, and Ama are best friends. They are growing apart. The summer after eigth grade, they go on their seperate adventures. They do not have a shared pair of pants, but 3 Willows is similar to the Traveling Pants books with the themes it covers.
3 Willows isn't totally Pants free. The Sisterhood are celebrities among the characters in 3 Willows. Effie, Lena's sister, plays a big part in Jo's story. Polly babysits Tibby's siblings.
I woudn't let a preteen read the Traveling Pants books, but this is a great book for 11-13 year olds. They'll be itching to read Brashares's other books after reading 3 Willows!
Grade: B

Monday, May 4, 2009

Review: My Little Red Book

In our society where PG-13 TV is on at all hours for kids to watch and we are so open about PG-13 matters, why aren't women as open about their special monthly gift? This collection of short essays(very short, I'm talking one or two pages) confronts this issue. The stories of first periods range from teenagers today, teenagers from the 60s, and grandmothers. There are stories from women and girls living in many different cultures.
This is a light read, but fascinating. The topics introduced in this book would be a very interesting thesis for someone studying sociology.
Periods are pretty much a forbidden topic. Why? I even found myself shielding the book when I read it in school. I didn't want the guy sitting next to me in English class asking what I was reading! This demonstrates exactly why the eightteen year old editor put together this book.
I think I'm becoming a feminist more and more every day...
Grade: A

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Got Published!

I took part in the Gene Kelly Critics program in my city. This lets students from the schools whose musicals are entered in the Kelly awards review two other school's musicals and have them published on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's website. You can read my reviews of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "42nd Street"" at these places:

Review: Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury
(from Nowadays firemen start fires. Fireman Guy Montag loves to rush to a fire and watch books burn up. Then he met a seventeen-year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future where people could think. And Guy Montag knew what he had to do....

The concept of this book seems like to would make a really great story. But like many books I have read that makes a political statement (1984 and The Fountainhead for example), I found that Fahrenheit 451 was lacking in several ways.

The characters in the book lacked specific character traits. I felt as the characters simply existed on the page. I can't describe the characters to you because there was nothing to describe.

Just like 1984 and The Fountainhead, the main character Guy, seemed to be highly exalted. Bradbury portrayed Guy as a man with faults, but the fact that he sacrificed his secure life for books made up for his faults several times over.

Fahrenheit 451 is a small book with little substance. We all know censorship is bad. Okay. I get it. Other than that, you can skip this one.

Grade: D