Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

by Vicki Myron
(Synopsis from "Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most."

I really enjoyed this book, but some major flaws jumped out at me. Don't get me wrong, I love kitties. I have one myself who I think is even greater than Dewey, even though he bites you when he's hyper. Dewey was a special cat, but he's treated higher than he should be. The cat didn't exactly touch the world. His story spread throughout the globe, but I can hardly say Dewey has touched my life.

This story is cute. What is not to love about a cute little kitten who grows up and still does adorable things? The book is filled with Dewey's antics, from his picky eating to his love of sleeping in boxes.

What even more of the story focuses around than is necessary is Myron's own life. It is necessary to have a small amount of her own life to fully understand how mch Dewey affected her. She also includes some town history which is also necessary to understand how much Dewey was apprciated in the town of Spencer. But, after a while, it just sounded like a "woe is me" fest. Myron's mother had breas cancer five times, her brother committed suicide. Her other brother died at a young age. Myron herself had many medical complications arising from her pregnancy. Her husband was an alchoholic. That's not even all of the stories covered. There is more about Myron than Dewey.

If Vicki Myron wanted to write her own autobiography, she could have, but she shouldn't have used her beloved Dewey to get to that point. The book isn't about Dewey, it is about Vicki Myron's sturggles and the struggles of he hometown and how Dewey was able to make them somewhat happy through difficult times.

Grade: B-


This is my first year keping track of what I read and actually reading seriously. This is my best year because I don't have anything to compare it to! August-the present I really stepped things up. I am thinking it is because of this blog!

Because of the flash drive crisis, I do not know what books I read what months unless I recorded it in a blog post, but here are my reading stats for this year!

Total: 63

Non-Fiction: 15

Novels: 39

Poetry: 1

Children's: 6

Classics: 15

Least favorite books: Bridget Jones's Diary, The Nany Diaries, Crime and Punishment, The Old Man and the Sea, Of Mice and Men, Digital Fortress

Favorite Books: East of Eden, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner, The Poisonwood Bible, Hamlet, Angels and Demons

For next year, I hope to match thenumber of books I read or be over it. My motto for this year is I AM NOT GOING TO STRESS MYSELF OUT OVER BOOKS.

Month of December

Total books read this year: 63
Books Read in: 10
Blog posts: 19
Total Blog Posts: 88
Books acquired: 8
Favorite Book(s) read: Twilight, As I Have Loved You
Titles of Books Read: Dewey, Twilight, Bridget Jones's Diary, As I Have Loved You, The Father Christmas Letters, The Last lecture, The Book That Changed My Life, Pomegranat Soup, A Christmas Carol, Dating DaVinci

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This is my first year participating in challenges. I was careful not to join any huge challenges because I want to be able to have a lot of time just to read books I randomly found and want to read. I am also going to treat the coming year as the last year I will be able to read a lot (but hope it is untrue) so I plan to read a ton!

I am challenging myself to read one classic a month. This started last month when I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This month I am reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

My Year of Reading Dangerously (

Requires you to read 12 books you consider "dangerous." I could complete this just with reading classics, but I am not going to do that. Any book that I consider dangerous other than books I have to read for school (if I choose to read it for school and it fits in the category, that is fine) will fit into one of these categories.

-Sci Fi
-Graphic Novels
-Over 500 pages
-Written by Jane Austen
-Written by Charles Dickens
-Written by a Russian author
-Caused a lot of controversy (ex: The Satanic Verses, A Million Little Pieces)
-Written by one of the Bronte sisters
-Was a selected book in Oprah's book club (I know this sounds bad, but her books have a reputation of being kind of horrible)
-Written by Toni Morrisson
-Nonfiction, but not a memoir or biography
-Written in the stream of consciousness
-A Book I have attempted to read more than twice but never succeeded (ex: Black Beauty, Little Women)
-Been sitting on my shelf for over 2 years

I chose to read any 5 books Dewey has read. I made a list of possible books. I got many from a meme she filled out of what books she has read.

The Little Prince
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
The Graveyard Book
Pride and Prejudice
Gone with the Wind
The Lovely Bones
Wuthering Heights
The Red Tent
The Grapes of Wrath
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Brave New World
The Secret Life of Bees

Support Your Local Library Callenge:

I am reading 25 books from the library this year. I will probably do more than that, but 50 sounded like too many. A Majority of the books I read come from the library.

Chick Lit Challenge 2 (

Read 10 Chick lit books. I like to read chick lit every once in a while, but hopefully with this challenge I will be able to read something light like this without feeling guilty!

National Just read More Novels Month ( Only for the month of January. There are four different levels and I'm trying for silver, which is 10 novels.

Chunkster Challenge 2009 ( I'm going with the last option. I am going to read two chunksters this year, The Grapes of Wrath and Gone With the Wind.

100 Shots of Short: Read 100 short stories in any amount of time. (see bottom of blog for the most current list of stories read)

1% Well-Read Challenge ( I'm going to go with reading 10 books from the new list.

This post is subject to change at any time. I can add challenges or edit the booklists as I see necessary, but within the challenge guidelines.

If something is small it means that it is completed!

Monday, December 29, 2008

January Reading List

January's reading will mostly be focused around my senior project. I am taking a different route than I had initially intended but I still will get some interesting reading in next month! As always, this list is tentative!

Books marked with a * are pleasure reading.

The Journals of Sylvia Plath
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Off the Record by Jennifer O'Connell
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
I Don't Know How She Does it by Allison Pearson
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith*
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

If I have Enough Time: Friendship Bread and the Lovely Bones

January brings only one weekend away from home, midterms (no worries about those), one college visit, and hoping Breaking Dawn will come into the library before February. This month's classic is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, although I am readin several other classics for school.

As for the last week of this year, I hope to finish Bridget Jones's Diary, Dewey, and get a good start on Sylvia Plath.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blog network

I have set myself up on facebook's blog network. If you have a facebook, add yourself as a fan!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Traditions

I've been enjoying the Blog Advent Tour, reading about what everyone will be doing in the next two days. I'm not on the tour, but I still would like to share what my Christmas will be like. We have so many traditions in my family, many of them are new, some are not. Sometimes, if we throw something new into our Christmas and Christmas Eve events, my mom has to tell us, "NO, this is NOT a new tradition." We have too many traditionas already.

I think I enjoy Christmas Eve better than Christmas! For the most part, we have the Christmas stuff done, so it's a pretty laid back day. If we have stuff to do, it's not stressful or anything.

In the afternoon, my dad and brother will set up the luminaria. When I was little, the whole neighborhood used to do them in paper bags. Now we are one of the few families that still does it, and we have electric luminaria.

We will eat dinner early, but not anything huge. Then, we go to our church's earlier Christmas Eve candelight service. My church is very contemporary, but on Christmas Eve, the only instrument on stage is the piano. There are no guitars, base buitars, or drums whatsoever.

Then we will drive around town with Christmas music on looking at all the houses all decorated. There are several neighborhoods that we visit every year because they have so many lights! We have a large holiday display about an hour away that we usually visit early in the Christmas season as well.

Christmas Eve used to end there, but in recent years, the festivities have been extended. Now we go to my dad's parents' house for their Christmas party. Grammy has a lot of food set out. My favorite is grampy's wassail. It's like hot apple cider, but much better. I'm excited for tomorrow just because of the wassail. I only get it once a year.

We don't stay long. We go home and open up two presents. They are always the same presents. My mom has given us one ornament each year so when we live on our own, we will have ornaments for our own trees. My mom does themed trees most years (red and white, purple, snowmen, 12 days of Christmas are a few themes), so the ornaments sometimes go along with the themes. We hang the ornaments on the tree.

Our second present is a pair or pajamas. My brother and sister get homeade ones, but mine are usually store bought. This year I am getting homeade ones. Most of the winter pajamas I have were Christmas pajamas at one point!

Then we will go to bed. Its usually around 10 pm at this point and we are tired. My parents don't worry about us waking up early Christmas morning.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, Santa...

Dear Santa,

As a favor to you, my first letter will be short. What? You don't recognize my name? Of course I am not on your list. I was never allowed to leave milk and cookies for you. Sorry, but to make it up to you, I'm writing a list now and am going to leave out cookies if I ever have kids. So, without further ado, here's what I want for Christmas...bookwise at least.

How To Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster: I've read most of this book, but this is not the type of book you can read once and be done with it. Not only will this book offer me more suggestions of what to put on my TBR list, which is much longer than my wish list, but it will help me get better grades in English and wow other students with my newfound knowledge on books that they didn't bother to read. I did of course, but I can also analyze them!

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson: This is another one I treid to read, but didn't get all the way through. there are so many poems in here that it would take longer than my limit of renewing it at the library!

Best Short Stories / Les Meilleurs Contes: A Dual-Language Book by Guy de Maupassant: I like Guy de Maupassant, but only when I can understand him. I need to work on being able to read in French...

Anything Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (other than the first movie): I'd really like a boxed set...but anything will do! I think I can put some easy reading on my shelf since I only have 5 chick-lit type books!

Revolutions by Justin Calderone: The author is a teacher at my school and a friend of my uncle's. I don't usually like poetry but this book sounds interesting.

These are the books on the top of my wishlist. There are 14 other titles that I really want, but I know you have limited time!

News in Bookland

Let's do this in list form!

1. I will have more book related news, considering it is Christmas and over half of the items on my wish list were books...I expect my collection to grow some within the next few days.

2. It's not even Christmas yet and I have gotten four books in the past few weeks. (this is pretty significant) I won my first giveaway. I won Atonement and Love in the Time of Cholera. I got As I Have Loved You as a gift from a friend, and my mom bought me Twilight!

3. I am in the middle of three books now. I am scared to go past the first chapter of Twilight. I'm scared that after all the great things I have heard about the series that I will be disappointed. I'm scared that I won't be able to fit it into my senior project (seriously, who came up with the concept of senior projects any way? Let's give all these kids who really want to get out of school and don't want any more schoolwork for the rest of their lives the biggest project they've ever had!)

4. I posted a review of a book I really enjoyed and I was surprised to get a comment from the author! This is the first time something like that has happened. I also learned that the book was based on a true story, which makes the story even more incredible!

5. I've been reading Bridget Jones's Diary for a long time now and am only half way through! I want to be done with it!

As I Have Loved You by Nikki Arana

(Summary from "Leigh Scott is a single mom who just wants the best for her only son, Jeff: a college degree and a good job. But when he starts seeing Jessica, a young woman with a troubled past and a questionable future, Leigh envisions all her best-laid plans going up in smoke. As Jeff spends more and more time with Jessica, Leigh sees her fears realized in Jeff's dropping grades and bad choices. To top it off, Leigh finds her relationships with her parents, her brother, and a long-lost old flame getting more complicated. Will Leigh get through to her son in time? Or is there more to Jessica than meets the eye? This many-layered, emotional family saga will captivate readers as it shows them the peril of judgment, the need for forgiveness, and the gift of love. "

As I have Loved You is definitely multilayers, but not complicated. each layer or this story has something to do with the other. Everything connects during the story and just doesn't fall into place at the end. It teaches many lessons throughout so that every reader will be able to take something away from reading the book.

As I Have Loved You came to me by surprise. A friend gave it to me for a Christmas present. I was expecting lotion or a candle or something! What makes the book so special to me is what my friend wrote in the cover for me. I started reading with high expectations and was not disappointed.

Grade: A

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flash Drive, part deux, the final chapter

Remember how everything got deleted off of my flash drive? Well, after that I got a password protected flash drive. It worked fine.

Until it decided that the password that I have typed in a hundred times before is wrong.
I didn't lose much, but my second generation book list is out of my reach.

I've kind of lost the will to read. After I finish the stack of books I have right now, what else will I read? I don't want to redo my whole list for the third time!

I've decided to stop using these stupid things altogether. If I decide to have a book list again, I'll keep a hard copy of it. It will never be electronically saved.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

Pomegranate Soup is about three sisters from Iran who now live in Ireland. they escaped just as Iran was entering political turmoil. They settled in a small town in Ireland and opened up the Babylon Cafe in an ond Italian pastry shop.

The book is full of quirky characters, good food, past hurts, jealousy, and teenage romance. Pomegranate Soup mostly focuses on the everyday trials of the three sisters rather than focusing on one major event like many books do.

Each chapter is named after a food that is served in the restaurant. The food is incorporated into the chapter, the most important food being the novel's namesake, pomegranate soup.

One thing I did not like about Pomegranate Soup is how the plot developed. Mehran waited until far into the book to thicken the plot. As a result, I was not satisfied with the ending. It seemed rushed.

Rating: B

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Carol

Book one of my personal classic reading challenge completed!

This one was easy, but still not very exciting. I already knew the story but never read it. I liked learning more about the characters in the story aside from what I have seen on versions of this book on TV.

I just hate the rambling Dickens does. That's why I never got through A Tale of Two Cities. He comes up with brilliant story ideas, but kills them with his rambling.

This Sunday, my pastor used the book as an example of some of the points he wanted to make. It was nice knowing everything he was talking about!

Rating: C

Thanks for the meme Eva!

The bold things are the ones I have done.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (only in my dreams...)
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (almost, it got in at midnight, so I did sleep a little)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort (I've tried. It's really hard)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (taught by teachers)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (on a rock climbing wall...)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted (well, drawn)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (we stood outside the gates and saw a teeny part of it)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (well, Bill Gaither)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

Monday, December 15, 2008

Say Thanks!

Even if you don't support the war in Iraq, there are Americans sacrificing so much to help over there, especially during the Christmas season. With this website, you can send a card to a soldier overseas, and in time for Christmas! It's free of charge and you pick a card design then chose one of the preset messages or write your own.

We all appreciate mail, so spread the love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?
(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)
2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

I'm going to be different here.

Yes, I do get as much time as I want to. I go to school for 4ish hours every day now until Jan. 26, and after that I go to school 4 hours 3 days a week and 6 two days a week, so I get enough time to read. Sometimes I get too much time to read. I get tired of reading. Sometimes I can't force myself to pick up another book because I have read so much already.

If my endurance for reading books were better, I would read all of the huge classics and books I can't seem to get through. I'd read Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, David Copperfield, The Scarlet Letter, A Tale of Two Cities, Anna Karenina, Macbeth, Moby Dick, Walden, War and Peace...maybe give Crime and Punishment another chance...

Funny book moment concerning the authors people tend to be afraid of. For the classic I am reading this month, I am reading A Christmas Carol. On the way to visit a college, I was (attempting) to read it. When talking with the department head of Communications at the college about things I like, books certainly came up. My dad mentioned that I was reading Dickens on the way there. I didn't correct him of course, that I was struggling to keep myself from throwing it out the window. : ) Im going to keep at it. I'm about half done.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Guess who needs bookish advice again?

I got my senior project assignment today. I knew it was coming. I really did. I just was in denial.

I found a way this year to make this ordeal somewhat enjoyable. This is my last "you won't graduate if you don't do this" project of high school, so I'm going to take it easy.

The only thing I am revealing to you is that my paper is going to be on the sexism of chick lit. (I am not a feminist, but I can pretend to be for a 12 page paper.) My only problem is that I have 3 chick lit books in mind to use in the paper. I need your help. Since this paper is generalizing the entire genre, I need a better sampling.

What are some of the best chick lits of all time? I don't necessarily want it to obviously demonstrate sexism, so don't think about that. I just need some chick lit books that have been wildely read.

Of course, I am doing some of my own research! Don't worry. I just need some good information from people who are qualified...bookish people!

On my list so far are Twilight, Bridget Jones' Diary, and possibly Dating daVinci. I'm reading it now and I'm already seeing some potential.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bookish Resolutions 2009

1. I'm going along with my one classic per month goal. I have a list of classics I plan to read, but I will read them as I find out what one fits my schedule that month.
2. Sept-Dec I will read at least 2 books per month, one classic, and one fun one. Adjusting to the college life will take a lot of my time, but if I plan my books well, I should be able to read 2 books a month to start out with.
3. I will take advantage of the summer months. This year I hardly read at all in the summer. I want any time that is not out of town to be one book every other day or so (unless it is really long).
4. Jan-May I won't pressure myself into reading as much as possible. Even though these 9ish months are my last few months of life how I know it now, I'm not going to get freaked out over it. This goes for non-bookish things too!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hope in Bookland

I'm nearing the end of my college search. Two things that were keeping me from going ahead with a certain college were 1. There isn't any obvious religious activities at the tiny school and 2. The library is tiny, and there is no town library. What am I going to do for books?

My dad pointed out with a journalism major and a french minor, I wouldn't have time to read. I hope to read even a little bit, and I'm sure the campus library won't suffice. I've seen it twice and I hate it. I did some research on the internet of libraries nearby and nothing came up that was close.

We had a formal visit today and my belief that the college is perfect was confirmed again, except for the aforementioned areas, but one was fixed today!

There are two libraries within a 15 minute drive from school (freshman can have cars). They are both part of a larger system, so I can order books like I do now from my great big library. The best part is that the closer library is part of a bigger system than the other.

This school is situated in the panhandle of West Virginia, so I have access to libraries from three states if I chose, but it isn't exactly a short trip.

Now that the book thing is sorted out, the only problem with the college is its religious activities. I'm still trying to work on that!

Friday, December 5, 2008


This is one of the hard ones to write about, just like How east of Eden was for me. I enjoyed Hamlet, but it has so many layers to it that I can't possibly write about all of them.

Hamlet was the first Shakespeare play I have read that I was truly sad to see the characters die. (This isn't a spoiler. Everyone knows Shakespeare likes to kill off all of his characters in the last few scenes.). Hamlet' character was ver fascinating to me. He's a really deep thinker. Many people would think his thoughts are really morbid but it's deeper than that. Hamlet's thoughts focus on consqeuences, devotion to religion, nobility, anger, and much more.

For those that don't know (I certainly didn't know anything about Hamlet when I started it!), Hamlet is a play about a young man's anger towards his uncle Claudius. Hamlet is angry because he found out that Claudius killed his father to get the throne. Then, Claudius married Hamlet's mother.

I had to read this play for school, otherwise I wouldn't have read it. This is my fourth Shakespeare (I've also read Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Othello.). I've mastered how to handle Shakespeare so I get the most out of it. I read through the originial language first, usually just a scene at a time. This can be with audio or along with a movie, or on my own. Then, I read the No Fear Shakespeare version of the play. All of Shakepeare's plays are on the internet with the original language and modern langauage side by side. Then, if needed, I will read summaries on the internet. Through reading the play in two formats and class discussions, I have a pretty good understanding of it, so I don't need to read summaries any more.

I'm not sure if I liked Hamlet better than Romeo and Juliet. Hamlet definitely had more depth to it and more intriguing characters and some great philisophical debate, but who doesn't like a good story.

Good thing my goal is to just give it a rating. I'll figure out which one I like better later.

Hamlet gets a B+ in my gradebook.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Favorites

1. Do you have a favorite author?
2. Have you read everything he or she has written?
3. Did you LIKE everything?
4. How about a least favorite author?
5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

1. I really like John Steinbeck and Khaled Hosseini. I'm not sure if I have one favorite, but these are my top two.
2. I've read Khaled Hossein's two books, but only three of Steinbeck's.
3. I loved both of Hosseini's books. I loved two out of three of the Steinbeck ones.
4. I can't really have a least favorite author because if I don't like a book, I stop reading it. The first ones that come to mind are Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. I haven't exactly given them a fair chance though.
5. I want to like Jane Austen. Everybody raves about her books!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

There are two main things about this book that stuck out.
Yeah, this is not exactly a review, but I think it's more important just to give your impression of the book than to "review" it.

1. It takes place in Pittsburgh! That's where I live. If Charlie were a real person, he'd live about 25 minutes away from me if the traffic is not too bad. He mentiond the Fort Pitt Tunnel several times in his letters. When you come into Pittsburgh from the west, you come through that tunnel and BOOM. You are in the city. You see this when you come out of the tunnel:

The picture doesn't do it justice, but when I'm away from home for a while, seeing that is so cool! Not many movies and books take place in Pittsburgh. Most authors want either a big city or a small town, not something in between. I can drive 20 minutes in one direction and be in a really neat city, but drive 20 minutes in another direction and see cows roaming around! If I ever write novels, all of them will take place in my city because nobody gives it the credit it deserves!

2. Wallflower is so honest. It doesn't really have much of a "plot" since it is a coming of age story. It's real. Real life doesn't focus around one main event like books do. Even though we know Charlie is special, he's normal because nothing crazy happens to him. He is shaped by his everyday experiences.

Bookish people should read this because Charlie's English teacher is important to Charlie's development. Bill gives Charlie books like The Catcher in the Rye and The Fountainhead to read. I always think books about books are a cool concept!

I didn't like how sexual the book was though. The story would have been fine without most of it. Some aspects like that gave me a love-hate relationship with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I'm not sure if I'd give it a B or a C rating.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Month of November

Total books read this year: 54
Books Read in November: 5
Blog posts in October 17
Total Blog Posts: 68
Books bought in October: 1
Average Rating of Books Reviewed: B-
Favorite Book(s) read in October: Memoirs of a Geisha and In the Land of Invisible Women
Titles of Books Read:
In The Land of Invisible Women
Memoirs of a Geisha
Dream Factory
Girl, 13
The Nanny Diaries

Definitely not as good as last month, but I read two outstanding books. Despite all of the travelling out of town and school stuff I had this month, I did pretty good!

In the Land of Invisible Women

This book took be absolutely forever to read. I started it about a month ago. I started out reading it on the computer because of the free download I got from librarything. I probably wouldn't even have heard about this great book if it wasn't for that.

I raved about In the Land of Invisible Women so much that my mom decided she should read it. She bought a copy. I finished the last 100 or so pages of it reading it from a real book then passed it along to her.

I learned so much from this lovely memoir about a female doctor who makes the decision to spend several years practicing medicine in Saudi Arabia where she encounters a world very different from her own. Dr. Qanta is a Saudi Muslim, but lives in the United States. She was not familiar with the way women are forced to live in Saudi Arabia.

The book deals with her adjustment to the new society and learning more about the Muslim faith. Qanta's experiences are very unique since she is a female in leadership since she is a doctor. In Saudi Arabia women in the workforce and in any leadership position are rare.

Women are not valued in Saudi Arabia. They cannot drive or go out in public with a man who she is not related to and must be fully covered. It shocked me to learn that they tried to pass a law forbidding women to wear seatbelts because it shows their clevage! Things like that are only a taste of what Qanta writes about.

Qanta spent about 2 years in Saudi Arabia and decided to leave shortly after 9/11. One of the hardest passages to read in the book is the chapter about 9/11 in Saudi Arabia and the chapters following that. I knew Americans hated Muslims and to some extent, Muslims dislike Americans but I did not know how severe it is. I remember on 9/11 when I was in fifth grade, I watched the news and I saw a middle eastern kid my age stomping on an American flag. I still do not know the roots of the hatred between our countries, since it existed before 9/11 but Qanta's book made me think more about it.

Of course, things have changed in Saudi Arabia since Qanta spent her time there. The last portion of the book covers the progress of the nation since then. Their gains seem small to us, but when you consider what the situation was before, they are moving along full speed ahead.

This book's grade: A+

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

This is another one of those books that I have found that makes people read it regardless of whether they usually like to read or not.

I have a lot of friends who are into manga and anime and all of that sort of stuff. The only books they read are the ones you have to read backwards. Many of my friends have read this book though, and you read it from front to back.

They beat me to this glorious book. You know it is a good book if people who never read will read it!

Memoirs of a Geisha is in fact a memoir, but I didn't know that until halfway through the book. Arthur Golden just created the memoir for Sayuri.

This novel has many interesting characters and circumstances throughout Sayuri's life. I didn't know what a geisha was before I started this book! Memoirs of a Geisha not only taught me what a geisha is, but was full of creative imagery and kept me turning the page.

Usually I am able to predict what happens next in a book correctly but with Memoirs of a Geisha, I guessed incorrectly each time!

memoirs of a Geisha will be near the top of my favorite books list. I can't really explain why. I enjoy reading about subjects and place unknown to me, but this was totally uncharted territory. Usually I know the basics to the topic, but with this I knew nothing. I am guessing why I found this book so enjoyable.

There is a movie, but I stay away from movies made from books. (Except Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. That's a different story.) I have such vivid pictures of the characters and places in my mind unlike any other book I've read. I wold be terrible disappointed to see the movie.

But, the book gets the grade of an A.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My TBR List

In order to avoid another crisis and just for fun, I have decided to post my TBR list every once in a while. I have posted where I heard about the book if I remembered to post who posted about it along any other comments about it. This version is slightly different from the one saved on my disk, but not much.

NOTE: This is just my list of books that are on their way to be read by me. I do not have a timetable or any goals, except to continuously be crossing books off this list as well as adding new ones!

90-Day Geisha by ?? (No library in my system has it! I can't remember where I saw this book or how to get it. I just know I want to read it.)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dewey by Vicki Myron
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex Harris
Emma by Jane Austen
Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die by David Crowder
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkein
LIFE: The American Journey of Barack Obama by Robert Sullivan (
The Little Prince
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway (
Native Son by Richard Wright
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafizi
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
Schindler’s List
The Shack by William Young
The Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Taming of the Shrew
Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen (comment from Heather: regarding my Nanny Diaries review)
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Books on Vacation

I've had a lot of interesting revelations about books the past five days I spent on vacation.

I've been in four different airports, two countries, three islands, four planes, and one huge cruise ship.

Other than water and sand, the thing I saw most was people reading!

Usually I am labelled as a freak since I read willingly. Even more so, I am seventeen and I read. It surprised me to find people of all ages reading a variety of books on this trip. I wondered if these people were just reading because they were travelling or do it all the time. Another theory of mine is that people from countries other than the US read more. I can't even tell you how many people with different accents I cam across on this trip.

Either way, it was refreshing to see people reading!

Even better, I saw kids my own age readin on the beach and the airport. Mostly, it was the Twilight books. Even adults were reading them! First it was Harry Potter that got people of all ages to read, and now it is Twilight. I haven't read either series, but I tried to read HP and failed. I am going to read the Twilight series though!

The girl in front of me on one of the planes I was on was reading Anna Karenina. She wasn't more than four years older than me. It was a nice copy too, which probably means she wasn't reading it for school.

Most of the time I spent reading was trying to finish Memoirs of a Geisha. I didn't get to read much, but I am enjoing it immensely. Expect a review in the next couple of days! I need to get back in the swing of things now. I loved this vacation more than any other one and I really did not want to leave. We got back around 5:30 last night and I haven't unpacked yet. I haven't even thought about doing anything I need to get on that....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Miscellany

I spent a little bit of time yesterday building my TBR list back up. It's not at all what it used to be, but my main fear: that I wouldn't know what to read next, is not a problem. I am in the middle of three books right now, have one on my shelf to read, and have a list of about 5 I want to read next.

I plan to read these in December:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkein
Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

I hope I'll be able to read more than this, but these will be the books I will order from the library after I get back from our cruise next week. We're going to Nassau, Cococay, and Key West. On Thanksgiving, my family and I will be on Key West :D

Most of you would be happy for this opprotunity to travel because it gives you reading time, but I find it difficult to do anything other than read a magazine in a car or plane. I won't get much reading done...except in the in flight magazines!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekly Geeks #26

1. Using the WeeklyGeeks category here in my blog, find 5 Weekly Geeks you don’t know. The easiest way is probably to look at the Mr Linkies in my weekly Saturday posts.
2. Visit each of your 5 new blogpals and snoop around their blogs to find at least one thing you have in common.
3. In your blog, write a post, linking to your 5 new blogpals, about what you have in common with them.
4. Come back and sign Mr Linky.
5. As you run across other Weekly Geek posts (or deliberately seek them out) if you see anyone mentioned who has something in common with you, pay them a visit.

My randomly selected blog buddies (note: I am considering people I haven't suscribed to their blog as a person I do not know. You may have commented on my blog, or I have on yours, but I don't really "Know" you):


Beastmomma: We were both affected greatly by The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I also noticed that most of her mosts are Booking Through Thursday, Weekly Geeks, or Sunday Salon. I have relized that my blogging has fallen under this pattern as well. I've been out of town twice already this month, and Monday I am leaving for vacation. There isn't much time to read or blog right now!

Kristina: Wow, we really don't have much in common. After going through several pages of blogs, I only came across two books I've read/heard of! Kristina, you made me feel like I'm the only one who hasn't read the Twilight series yet (don't worry, you aren't the only one). I seriously need to get on that...

Just when I thought things were hopeless of finding something we have in common, there is a short post about how she got 14 books for $1. I love cheap stuff. I never buy things full price.

Ciaralira: This is an odd one, but she is on vacation right now. I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow :P

Suey: In her sidebar is this thing listing her all time favorite books. We share two favorites: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. We are both going through a reading funk currently as well I wish I could snap out of it!

Sarah: Other than the same first name, not much.

Looks like I randomly picked people I don't have much in common with! :P

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Honesty

"I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?"

I have never received a book from an author directly. However, I think I know what this question is referring to, the whole dilemma that has been going on. If you don't know about it, leave me a comment and I'll be happy to fill you in :)

Reviewers are not obligated to give a good review under any circumstance, even if the author gave them a book. I'd think that the author would want an honest review because they went out and gave books away. When I hand someone an article I wrote for the school paper, I expect them to give me an honest opinion about it. I know people who tell me every single one of my articles are good and I don't need to change anything. That isn't helpful. There are people who always tell me so many things are wrong with my writing. They are tough critics, but they help make my articles better. Plus, compliments from these people mean more to me since I know how tough they are!

This shouldn't be any different for us. We should have reputations of being tough (but not nasty) reviewers. This means if we like a book, it was really good!

Many of the people who always have something to say about my articles for the paper always say something about what they liked about it, even if they have to point out a really small detail. Reviewers should strive to do this to, especially if you just pointed out a whole bunch of things you didn't like about the book. You shouldn't totally slam the book. The author did spend a lot of time and effort on it, no matter how badly it was written. This does not entitle them to an overall good review, though.

If the author gave you the book, make sure you sincerely thank them in your review, no matter how bad the book was!

I don't think we need to put up dislaimers. Authors should be able to show some manners in this area, but some fail to do so. I hope the author who was recently angry for a bad review and acted badly about it will suffer to some extent. As with many things, people need to recognize the consequences to their actions. I hope reviewers and authors will learn from this incident!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flash Drive woes...part 2

My uncle was able to save 2 documents of minimal importance.

So, now what to do about my lost book lists?

I have a hard copy that I printed of my TBR list a few months ago back when it was still one page long (two columns though). I'm going to go through that and type up only the books that I remember wanting to read.

Instead of listing just the titles, I will list the author and what date I added it to the list, and whether I have to order it from the library or just pick it up.

If I read about the book on a blog, I will also put on the list whose blog it was.

I will otherwise have to start from square one.

I haven't really been reading much this month. After last month, this was expected since last month was my best reading month of the year. Plus, now I have to redo a whole bunch of school work to turn in on Friday that I spent the last two weeks doing. Then, next week I am going on vacation. November is so crazy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekly geeks #25

For your churchgoing grandma:

Too Long a Stranger by Janette Oke:
When her husband dies, a woman has to support her infant daughter by doing a man's work. When she sends her daughter off to boarding school, she loses touch with the person she has worked so hard to provide for.

For your teenage niece:

Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn:
The first book in a triology with an eclectic bunch of characters and faces issues like the emotional side of abortion, fighting with parents, homosexuality, and divorce in a very realistic way (particularly for this genre). I was very impressed how the book was entertaining chick lit but still had a dose of reality. It would probably be most appreciated by a 15 or 16 year old.

For the horse-crazy girl:

The Winnie the Horse Gentler series:
This series is not just about horses. It deals with the narrator's every day life and how horses help her in her most recent move. Without a mother, Winnie lives with her sister and dad, who is an inventor. The characters in these books are very entertaining! (Note: if the girl is under 10 or 11 you may not want to giver her these books. One deals with how Winnie has to be in a school debate about abortion)

For the muscial nut:
Forever Liesl by Charmian Carr.
You can read by review of it here:

For the WWII obsessed uncle:
Schiesshaus Luck by Pierre Berg:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:

For anyone who enjoys contemporary Christian music:

The Way I Was Made by Chris Tomlin: This is one of my favorite books ever. I love Chris Tomlin's music. This book is about his life and how some of his most popular songs came to be. Most of the songs mentioned are from his album Arriving.

For the aunt who only reads novels bought in airports or drugstores:

No Fear Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet:
Even people who think Shakespeare should only be read in its Elizabethan language will have to admit that this is better than the books your aunt is reading now. Romeo and Juliet is romantic and sometimes trashy (for lack of a better word) as her other reading is!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Last night, I sat down to do some homework on the computer. I dug around in my purse to find my flash drive (or rip drive or thumb drive or scan disk or whatever you call it) and it wasn't there.

I realized I left it plugged into one of the computers in a classroom. Usually when this happens, the teacher finds it and keeps it safe.

I go into the class today and my little grey and black friend is nowhere to be found.

My teacher tells me that there is a study hall the next period and to maybe ask around there. Since I have a class that period, I wrote a note to the teacher asking for him to see if any of the kids took it.

I come back to the classroom the next period and my flash drive is there! I was so happy. All of my stuff for the paper is there, my book list, and most of the 10 page paper I have to turn in next week.

I plug it into the computer at home today and all that is on the thing is a whole bunch of odd pictures...of cats. Someone went on my drive, deleted everything, and put pictures of cats on it.

My uncle is a computer dude, so he's going to try to retrieve something. Right now, if I could choose one document it would be my 10 page English paper. Then, my four pages of journals I have to turn in for Hamlet, and then my book lists.

I'm glad I have in the sidebar of my blog what books I've read this year, because otherwise I wouldn't have a completely accurate number. But, my TBR list is gone, my wishlist is gone, and what books I am going to get from the library next.

I'm really upset about the English paper. I'm not a very good creative writer and I have to write a short story. When I have an idea, I have to write it down immediately because when I first get an idea is when it is at its best. This short story was REALlY good. I don't think I'll be able to re-write it at the same quality level. The Hamlet journals will be a pain and a drag to do over again, but basically all the schoolwork I have done in the past two weeks has gone POOF.

Instead of spending most of the weekend filling out college paperwork, I have to redo my high school homework...ugh...

Ok. I'm done ranting!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Why buy?

Kind of hard to answer considering I don't...

I am a library junkie. If I'm only going to read the book once unless I really really like it, why should I pay $8-$20 per book? Buying a book or putting it on my wish list means that I am really devoted to the book. I want the book to be my friend. I will never bend the pages, break the spine, or let anyone borrow it.

I can rough up library books a little bit. I don't feel guilty about tossing it into my (really large) purse along with stuff that could scratch it up some.

I do own some books. They are decoratively placed on my shelves to take up as much space as possible, since my bookshelf is too big for my small amount of books.

So, I guess my answer is that the reason to buy books is they look pretty on the shelf.

My bedroom situation is very odd/awkward. Long story short, everyone who walks into the house can see my bookshelf if they want. That means my books have to looks pretty!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Girl, 13 by Starla Griffin

I read about this book at Eva's ( blog and decided I had to read it. I ordered it from the library, the only copy in the entire system, and waited.

And waited.

and waited.

and waited.

The one person that had the book before me took their good old time.

I finally got it about a week ago and I was so excited! The book is profiles on over 40 different 13 year old girls all over the world. Every one starts with a questionaire asking questions like favorite foods, languages they can speak, favorite books, siblings, pets, etc... Then each girl writes something about herself and something about the best day of her life. The author writes about her experience meeting the girl. Sometimes there will be a little blurb about the girl's school or a certain holiday in her country.

Girl, 13 was an easy read, the pages are colorful so it wasn't a novel or anything. I found that if the girl didn't write her own entries in English and had to get it translated into English, there was something lost. Some of the girls' personalities really show, but the ones where their essays had to be translated didn't.

I'd really like to own this book, but it's kind of hard to find. It was the perfect book for all the weekend travelling I did. I was in a car for a total of 8 hours this weekend. It is light and not to involved, but interesting enough to make me want to pick it up when I could be doing something else.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly Geeks #24

I forgot to do last week's weekly geeks...

So, I'll just move along and do this week's.
I did one fact on whatever authors came to mind first. The intention was for one author to be a whole post, but I'm sure nobody minds :P

John Steinbeck lived in a really pretty house.

Khaled Hosseini says he was very influenced as a wrtier by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.

Many of Lewis Carroll's works are in the genre of literary nonsense. There is such a genre? Wow, now if I could put on paper much of the stuff that comes out of my brother's mouth, I could be really successful...

James Frey graduated from the same college my childhood playmate who lived up the street is currently attending.

I found this quote by Louis Sachar interesting: " personal experiences are kind of boring. I have to make up what I put in my books." (wow, I just realized I have never read Holes. Should I put this on my TBR list?)

One parent counted the usage of profanity in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and found 237 appearances of the word "goddam", 58 "bastard"s, 31 "Chrissakes," and 6 "fucks".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Nanny Diaries

Remember a while back how I said you really can't mess up chick lit?

I was wrong. The Nanny Diaries is chick lit at its worst.

The book had tons of potential. They even figured out how to make a movie out of it (which I an not going to see). The book could have had more focus on how her job as a nanny was making her own life messed up.

The job Nanny takes on is meant for her to be able to pay her rent while she tries to finish school. She tells Mrs. X she wants to work two days a week. That two days is translated into "I will be your personal slave."

Nanny just barely turns in her thesis on time and her employers are angry that she can't work for them for one day because she has to graduate. They, obviously, are horrible parents but they blame all their problems on Nanny.

The attempt at making it lighthearted fails. Yes, there is a guy in it, but he's not really in the story all that much.

The book is mostly just expressing how unfair it is to Nanny and the X's kid, Grayer. Yes, it is unfair but you can't exactly make a good book out of it.

To top it off, I think the book had a really bad ending too.

Now I know you can mess up chick lit.

For the waste of time this book was:


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Presents

Well, considering I never buy books, I own many of the books I do because of presents.

Last Christmas, I didn't get the big Christmas gifts I usually do. I only asked for money since I had to raise about $1000 for a missions trip to mexico with Caring Hearts ( My relatives made sure I had some little thing to open, though.

My dad's mom gave me an opal bracelet she found on sale at Macy's (I love opals the same way normal girls like diamonds. I don't think I would even want my engagement/wedding ring to be a diamond) and some personalized stationery. My mom's mom gave me two books, (and probably something else but I don't remember) To Kill A Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet. They weren't in hardcover or a special edition or anything, but I was really grateful for them. It was just the beginning of my new stage of book reading, and these two were my two favorite books at the time.

While I'm thinking about it, here are some pictures from my mission trip to San Luis, Mexico this June:
Some of us dancing to Vida by DC Reto in the church.
(It took me two hours to learn just the steps to the chorus, so I am obviously not in this picture!)

The school that we painted all week. The community gave us a fantastic thank you lunch!

The dump, where we spent an afternoon ministering
(The only time we saw clouds in Mexico was the morning we went home!)

This human video to Lifehouse's Everything not only changed my life earlier this year but also helped change lives in Mexico!

(You can see a version of it here. It does start off slow, but it is really worth it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Fantabulastic: adj. sarah's made up word for being so awesome you can't decide whether to use fantastic or fabulous so you use both

I had the best weekend of my life (so far).

I haven't had school since Friday. I left with my youth group Friday night after my church's harvest party to go on our annual Fall retreat. It was really fun and a big life-changing experience for me. Now, just that would have had me living in the clouds for a month, but more stuff happened!

My cousin and his family are in town for a few weeks from where they live in Panama. I got to hang out with him on Monday, my first day back from retreat. We played glow-in-the-dark mini golf at the mall and walked around for a good three hours.

Today was my recovery day, since I go back to school tomorrow. Next weekend is going to be great too, since I am probably going to Columbus to visit my aunt because my baby cousin is being baptized. Yay!

So, I will get to see all four people on the heroes section of my myspace in less than a week!

Woah, that sounded really odd.

I've left the books I was reading before this weekend in the dust. Cell was dumb, Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog was boring, and Anne of Green Gables I have read before. The only remaining book is The Land of the Invisible Women and I will still read that one.

Finally Girl, 13 came into the library! I also got The Nanny Diaries so I'm still ok book wise.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Monthly Milestones

This month was a very good month for me book-wise!

Total books read this year: 49

Books Read in October: 15

Blog posts in October 39

Total Blog Posts: 51

Total books crossed off of TBR list: 25

Books crossed of of TBR list in October: 9

Books bought in October: 4

Average Rating of Books Reviewed: C+ (just a little over average)

Favorite Book(s) read in October: 1984 and Scheisshaus Luck

Titles of Books Read:

Franny and Zooey
The Book Thief
Westminster Abby
Howl and Other Poems
She’s All That (40)
Of Mice and Men
Alice in Wonderland
The Old Man and the Sea
Through the Looking Glass
The Uncommon Reader
Schiesshaus Luck
Pardon My French
Girl Overboard

I read the most books in one month than I ever have. Even if I elminated the 5 chicklits I read, it would still be my best total!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book hodgepodge

For those of you who are Early Reviewers at Librarything, there is something you need to do.

Right now.

There are 2500 free downloads of the book In the Land of Invisible Women. It is a memoir of a female doctor in Saudi Arabia. It is really good and super interesting! This is my first book reading on a screen. It is going slower than usual, but I am enjoying the book immensely.

If you haven't signed up for Early Reviewers, now is a good time to sign up!

I'm now in the middle of three books right now. The only book I can get into is The Land of Invisible Women, and I can't carry that around with me since it is stuck on the computer.

I'm reading Cell by Stephen King and it is supposed to be all scary and horrible, but I think it's funny instead. It isn't suspenseful at all. I really need to crack down and try to read a chunk of it to see if it gets better. I'm going to be out of town having a blast this weekend, but that doesn't include books.

I'm also trying to read Anne of Green Gables. Its not going well either.

Booking Through Thursday: Conditions

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

I like my books in perfect condition, thank you very much.

Except, I will buy old books that have some wear and tear. I just don't want to be the one to do the damage...or see anyone else do it.

I hate it when people are reading a nice, brand new looking book and they have the cover folded back while they are reading it. ARRGGH.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Visual Tour of My Reading

The books I have out of the library right now.

Books I am currently reading. Anne is a re-read and The Story is a yearlong study my church is doing until May, so don't expect a review for a while!

My TBR stack. Yes. That's all I have. These are books I eventually hope to work up the endurance to finish. They just sit on my shelf to motivate me. The only one I will be reading soon is The Hiding Place.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Classics List Predicaments

As I mentioned yesterday, I am working on a tentative list of Classics I will be reading this year. I plan to start in December and read one of these books per month. I've easily narrowed it down to fifteen books, but there are twelve months in a year. So, I need your input.

What books do you suggest on this list (or which ones do you suggest I take off of the list)?

I want to pick a book apprpriate for each month, like a longer book for the summer months, and an easier read for tough months like January (midterms) and September (first month of college). Which books would be best for each month?

On this list, I know I am going to read The Grapes of Wrath, A Christmas Carol (in December), and Wuthering Heights (for school).

I also need to read a Jane Austen Book. I really struggle with her. I have put Pride and Prejudice on the list because that seems to be her most popular, but that can change!

Here is my list:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Alas, Babylon
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Brave New World
A Christmas Carol
The Grapes of Wrath
Oedipus Rex
Oliver Twist
Pride and Prejudice
The Taming of the Shrew
Wuthering Heights
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Gone With the Wind

Schiesshaus Luck by Pierre Berg

You may be thinking, "Yet another surviving the Holocaust memoir!"

However, I found this to be probably the best Holocaust Lit. I've ever read. Seriously, couldn't Oprah have waited to use this book for her book club instead of Elie Wiesel's Night?

In my time in the public school system, I have had my fair share of Holocaust lessons, books, and movies. I am fascinated by this horrific time, but after a while, each account of the Holocaust gets more and more stale.

Schiesshaus luck gave me a fresh perspective on the Holocaust, focusing mostly on the fact that Pierre survived because he was lucky. I found that many of his actions were very smart. His knowledge of several languages saved his life many times.

Pierre spent time in several consentration camps. He wasn't Jewish. This book is unique in that sense because most of Holocaust literature focuses on the Jews' side of the story. We sometimes forget that the Nazis persecuted homosexuals, gypsies, and people they just didn't like in the same way.

If you think you've heard everything you need to know about the Holocaust, you need to read this book. It will open your eyes yet again to the horros these people faced.

I give it an A.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekly Geeks #22

Step 1: Choose 3 Weekly Geeks, either from the Mr Linky below or from any of the Mr Linkies in any previous Weekly Geeks, and explore their archives. Try to choose at least one Weekly Geek you don’t know well.
Step 2: Looking through some of their oldest posts, find at least one that you really like from each of the three blogs.
Step 3: Write a post featuring these 3 bloggers, linking to the posts that you enjoyed, with a short blurb.
Step 4: Visit the WG #22 posts of two other Weekly Geeks from the Mr Linky below, and link to their posts at the bottom of yours.
Step 5: Come back and sign Mr Linky with the url to your specific WG #22 post, not just your general blog url.

Stop #1 Maree at this post: I have been thinking about my reading goals for this coming year. This year, it was to read actual literature that would make reading an actual experience, not just chick lit. This year I have decided that one of my goals will be to read at least one classic novel per month. I just figured I would go with the flow and pick whatever book sounds good that month, but this post made me realize that if I just go with the flow, I probably won't do it. So, look for my tentative 2009 classic novels list in the next few days! Such a simple post though but I overanalyze everything!

Her library let her take out 40 books because they were remodeling! I wonder how she got all them home! When I have an unusually large library stack, we have a blue tote bag with the library's name on it, and they always fit unless two of us get a whole bunch of books. Letting people take out mass amounts of books is what my library should have done when they moved into their new location over the summer a year ago. We were without a library for the summer so we had to order books online and have them sent to a teeny library in the next town over and pick up our books that came in once a week. BTW: Renay, I don't think you went overboard at all!

Stop 3: I can't link to the specific post, so here's Melody's blog: She posted this picture.

It's a water bridge! Oh my goodness that is soo cool!
In the sidebars of her blog, there are a few things that I have made a note to myself to check out, so thanks for those too!
I totally need to bloghop more often!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Booking Through Thursday...on a Friday.

“Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.”

It is so cliche, but it is hands down Romeo and Juliet!

In ninth grade, we had to read this for our first Shakespeare in English and while everyone moaned and groaned I loved it! The play shows that love needs to be between the people actually in love, and not with anyone else.

But then when everyone died, it portrayed another idea into my ninth grade mind:

Love really really stinks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

I had high hopes for this book, as the story sounds really cute, but the book failed to deliver.

The queen of England starts reading and neglecting her duties because of it.

Cute. Right?

In concept, yes, but I found the book to be boring. The first half was great, but just fizzled out at the end.

But now I am going to sound really silly. I found some intersting quotes from the book that could lead to good book discussion topics.

"...wonder my ma'am needed a travelling library when she had several of the stationary kind of her own..."

I'd love to have a private library, but then I would miss out on the excitement of waiting for books I order to come in to the library or being happy because I don't need to order a book because my library has it! I've already got my dream private library mapped out in my head, but I think my heart will always be with public libraries.

"had Her Majesty gone for another duff read...a novice reader that she was she might have been put off reading for good..."

I am definitely put off by boring books. If I am reading a boring book, I will stop or give it a few more chapters to get better. My patience is very thin with boring books.

"Pass the time?" said the Queen. "Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it."

"One recipe for happiness is to have no sense of entitlement."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Book Abundance

I have had books aplenty for the past two days!

I rarely buy books, and I usually buy books only for school. However, I bought four books yesterday! At the community college where I take a class twice a week, there was this random used book sale in the lobby! You could take as many books as you wanted and give whatever donation you wanted.

I had a five dollar bill in my purse. I thought it would be rude to ask for change when you give a donation, so I set out to get my money's worth.

I got:

The Pearl by John Steinbeck: creased a lot, but readable. I've read this book before. It was actually on my Christmas list. Score!

Hamlet by Shakespeare: Perfect condition. I will probably have to read this for school.

The Works of Thoreau: I will eventually want to read some of this or will have to for college. It's a nice hardback version and is right at home with my other pretty books. It's pretty old and the pages are thin like that of a Bible.

War and Peace: I figured, whenever I decide to read this it will take me so long that I won't be able to renew it from the library any more (they have a limit of 3 renewals), so it is a good thing that I have it. It looks like it used to have a dust cover, has some markings, and smells.

I actually have a TBR pile now!

I was going to go to the library's used book sale, but now I don't need to.

Some books finally came in to the library for me! The book I wanted for the read-a-thon STILL hasn't come in, Girl, 13! I have right now:

The Uncommon Reader
Schiesshaus Luck
Cell by Stephen King
Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog

I'm still waiting for many more books, like the Slaugherhouse-Five, Girl 13, Dewey, plus some chicklit I wanted for our cruise vacation Thanksgiving week.

I'm very happy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

I was a Sharon Creech fanatic when I was younger. I read every book of hers that they had at the library at least three times. It all started when we had to read Walk Two Moons for school in fifth grade.

I think I've read Walk Two Moons at least six times, but my favorite was Chasing Redbird. It's about a girl who goes out on her own into her woods for weeks uncovering a really old trail.

Most of Creech's books mentions another character from one of her other books, from Absolutely Normal Chaos and Walk Two Moons in Particular. I was deighted to see that the girl from Chasing Redbird was mentioned in Bloomability!

I had this book on my shelf ready to give away but my books still have not come into the library, so I needed something to read. I can now say my Sharon Creech experince is complete!

Like many of Creech's protaonists, one main struggle in the book is for Domenica (Dinnie) to find where she belongs. Her family switches locations very frequently and her older brother is in jail and her older sister got married and pregnant at sixteen. Her aunt and uncle take her in.

Her uncle got a job as the headmaster of a boarding school in Switzerland, which is where the story takes place. I loved this book because it takes place in Europe. Every time I read something like this it makes me want to visit Europe even more.

Although not Creech's best work, it's a cute read. If you haven't read anything by Sharon Creech, you definitely should!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Through the Looking Glass

This book was insane.

I'm going to do some research to see if Lewis Carroll was too.

It has no real storyline, conflict, resolution, or any of those things I have been told since first grade what makes a story.

Alice in Wonderland was a good choice for the read-a-thon. I read all of that and most of this during the read-a-thon, which is to a certain extent, a level of insanity.

I finished this book while sane, and it definitely wasn't as good as it was during the read-a-thon.

Guess an insane book needs to be appreciated during insanity.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Read-a-Thon in Review

Reading: 354 minutes
Other: 120 minutes
Number of pages: 417 pages
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men, one short story, Alice in Wonderland, The Old Man and the Sea
Total Mini-Challenges: 4
Audio Book minutes: 18

I could have finished Through the Looking Glass last night if I really tried but then I relized I couldn't understand a word of it. Yes, ten minuted into my last hour I shouted at my brother, "I don't know the meaning of THE any more!"

What a surprise when I came on after church today and found 8 comments waiting to be moderated!

As I promised, I am going to discuss what I would do differently next time.

I'd pick easier, more fun books. I picked 2 classic kid's lit, 2 literature, and one short story book. It took me so long to read each book because they were boring. I had a lot of fun seeing how much I could read in a day, but it would be more fun if my reading was fun.

Next time I want to make is past the 12 hour mark. I know I am not capable of staying awake 24 hours, much less reading that whole time. If the next read-a-thon starts at 8 am for me like it did this time, my reading schedule would be something like this for 24 hours.

8-10am Classic kid's lit
10am-4pm Serious literature like what I did this time
5-8pm short stories, plays, poetry, etc.
8-12 chick lit and really suspenseful books
12-8 graphic novels, easy childrens' books, anything that will keep me awake

I think next time I will plan to have more of a variety. Probably one book per two hours I plan to read, plus some more books to have on hand.

I would definitely change positions more. I stayed most of the day in my chair in my room then I really did not want to read any more. I switched to the couch and everything was okay again, then I switched to my bed.

I don't see how people could blog every 3 hours or so. Blogging every hour kept me sane! That's one thing I will keep the same for next time.

For now, I am already thinking about what books will be for next time.

And...I'll probably finish Through the Looking Glass today. It will be great because that will only be after I put the kids I am babysitting to bed...and they tire me out!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I was going to read another hour. I'm not.

I'm soo tired of reading.

And blogging.

I'll have a follow up post...sometime.

Hour 12

Time spent:Reading: 34 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 53
What I read: Through the Looking Glass
Down the hatch:--pumkin whoopie pie
Cumulatively:Reading: 354 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 120 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 417 pages--
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men, one short story, Alice in Wonderland, The Old Man and the Sea
Total Mini-Challenges: 4
Audio Book minutes: 18

This is more of an end of the even survey since hour 13 will be my last entry...
Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
2. How many books have you read so far? 3
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? SLEEPING :]
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? nope
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?not as many as I thought I would. At least the time spent on interruptions is less than half of time spent reading!
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? how stuff people told me about books to choose was right. I picked some really hard books. I feel so stupid. (That just made my sister laugh, who is READING OVER MY SHOULDER!)
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? have a stilly nonofficial challenge for each hour, like take a walk, dance in your front yard, etc...just to make things interesting!
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I'd do tons of things differently. I actually plan to do another post about that, so check back.
9. Are you getting tired yet?not sleepy tired, but tired of reading!
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Readers, don't be afraid to take an hour off of reading to visit blogs and stuff. If you are tired of reading it's okay. Once you take an hour to do blog stuff, you'll be ready to read again!

It looks like I won't be able to finish Through the Looking Glass, although I'll be pretty close.

I spent a lot of this hour with earplugs in. The only place I haven't read today is my bed, which is near where some noisy computer game playing is going on...

Hour 11

Time spent:
Reading: 19 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 26
What I read: The Old Man and the Sea
Down the hatch:--honey nut breaded chicken with BBQ sauce and garlic noodle shells and water
Cumulatively:Reading: 320 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 120 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 383 pages--
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men, one short story, Alice in Wonderland, The Old Man and the Sea
Total Mini-Challenges: 3
Audio Book minutes: 18

I moved all of my bedding down to my new "bedroom" in the family/computer room, so that took me a while. Then we had dinner, so I didn't get to read much this hour. I did finish The Old Man and the Sea though.

I was not impressed.

At all.

I'm sure if I was reading it in English Class, I would have some really in depht analysis of it but I'm too creepy right now to even care that I don't remember the ending. I finished it like 5 minutes ago.

Two more hours for me. I hope to finish Through the Looking Glass, which will be tough since I have to entertain my sister until bedtime.

I can't do the mini challenge because it is dark outside. Really dark.

Read-a-Thon hour 10

Time spent:
Reading: 24 minutes
Between the covers:--
Number of pages: 45
What I read: The Old Man and the Sea and Through the Looking Glass
Down the hatch:--nothing
Cumulatively:Reading: 301 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 90 minutes
Between the covers:--
Number of pages: 357 pages--
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men, one short story, Alice in Wonderland
Total Mini-Challenges: 3
Audio Book minutes: 18

The Alice books always boost my pages read!

I'm already planning what I'm going to no next time. I made some serious mistakes in my book choices this time.

Read-a-Thon Hour 9

Time spent:

Reading: 30 minutes

Between the covers:--
Number of pages: 34 pages
What I read: The Old Man and the Sea
Down the hatch:--a decaf cup of constant comment tea with sugar, milk, and a cinnamon stick. It's like eating one of those oranges with the cloves stuck in it!

Cumulatively:Reading: 277 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 90 minutes

Between the covers:--
Number of pages: 312 pages--
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men, one short story, Alice in Wonderland
Total Mini-Challenges: 3
Audio Book minutes: 18

This hour I will be loading the dishwasher. I usually loathe this, but today it's FANTABULASTIC!!
I spent about 15 minutes playing a computer game with my brother. Thank you baby brother for keeping your big sister somewhat sane!
I also forgot to give Alice in Wonderland a rating. Guess that reflects my rating, which is a C.
For now, I'm trying to find some book bloggers that I have read before but forgot about until now but I really want to read about.
Do you know anyone who did the Read-A-Thon in a previous year that read from a hotel room with a friend?
PS: Last hour's cheerleading posts were the best yet! Thanks you guys!

Read-a-Thon Hour 8


Time spent:
Reading: 28 minutes

Between the covers:--
Number of pages: 43 pages
What I read: Alice in Wonderland and The Old Man and the Sea
Down the hatch:--nothing

Reading: 247 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 80
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 278 pages--
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men, one short story, Alice in Wonderland
Total Mini-Challenges: 3
Audio Book minutes: 18

I finished Alice in Wonderland then decided that I never want to read again.

Then I ordered books from the library off the internet.

That took me a while, but I needed the break. Then I spent a good while reading The Old Man and the Sea. I hate how it has no chapters or page breaks! argh!

I need cheesecake or something to make me really giddily happy. Is giddily a word?

Still no luck on finding the Calvin and Hobbes books...

These blogging breaks are the only things keeping that are me sane!

Read-a-Thon Hour 7

I'm going to stop timing my blogging. Really, it's not a blog-a-thon. It's a read a thon.

Yeah, I'm getting a little grumpy.

Time spent:
Reading: 23 minutes

Between the covers:--Number of pages: 48 pages
What I read: Alice in Wonderland
Down the hatch:--I licked the beater of pumpkin glob batter and am eating animal crackers

Reading: 219 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 50 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 235 pages--

What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men and one short story
Total Mini-Challenges: 3
Audio Book minutes: 18

I'm one chapter away from finishing Alice in Wonderland! I don't think I'll read Through the Looking Glass right away. I'm kind of tired of Alice. The Lost Lady is realy boring me right now, so my only hope is The Old Man and the Sea. We'll SEA how it goes.

Oh my. I'm glad I'm not staying up for the whole thing...

On that note, I'm over halfway done!

Read-a-Thon Hour 6

This has been a really good hour! I got a lot of reading done, got a babysitting job, spent a few minutes laughing over a funny podcast, got a free audiobook for my ipod of Huckleberry Finn (the first 4 chapters at least).
By the way, this is what I think the Cheshire Cat looks like

I did a hodgepodge of things but none of them were distractions really! :D

Time spent:
Reading: 27 minutes
On computer (blogging, commenting/cheering, mini-challenges): 15 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 44 pages
What I read: Alice in Wonderland and The Lost Lady
Down the hatch:--nothing

Reading: 159 minutes
On computer (blogging, commenting/cheering, mini-challenges): 140 minutes
Other (pet care, cooking, etc.): 45 minutes
Between the covers:--Number of pages: 187 pages--
What I've read: Finished of Mice and Men and one short story
Total Mini-Challenges: 3
Audio Book minutes: 8

I'm enjoying Alice in Wonderland right now because it's completely mindless. It's wacky and I really do not feel like thinking right now. I realized how many skits from ZOOM (the second time it came out) came from Alice in Wonderland?

Remember ZOOM?