Monday, September 29, 2008

The Know-it-All

I finished this book during Trigonometry. I figured, instead of just sitting there while he goes over problems I got right, I can finish this book so I can rush home and write a blog about it!

It's not much different from A.J. Jacobs' other book I have read, The Year of Living Biblically. It just has different content matter. Instead of acting out what a book tells him, he reads the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica with the hopes of becoming the smartest man in the world.

He succeeds at reading the encyclopedia, but not in being the smartest man in the world. A small portion of the book is dedicated to Jacobs' quest to find out what intelligence really is. I wish he would have focused a little more on that deeper aspect. With his combination of humour and thought provoking points, it could have been much better.

One thing I did notice is his use of sentence fragments. He's a journalist. Writer's arent' supposed to use sentence fragments. Sure, in some books, like A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, fragments are acceptable, but not here. He usually starts paragraphs with them too, describing that the encyclopedia entry was about with just one fragment, followed by more information.

Wow, I am tired of typing the word "Encyclopedia."

Eventually, Jacobs realizes, "Maybe it's better to be dumb and happy."

I'm not quite sure about my rating for this book.

Maybe 3 and three quarters out of five?

Great, will I rate the next book with an even freakier fraction?

2 7/16 / 5? Haha.

PS: I've also started Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Boy, does Salinger love to write about whiny rich teenage kids. At least I feel sorry for a few of them!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rory's Book Club

I thought I'd take some time to put in a shameless plug for an amazing place on the internet. I'm surprised I haven't mentioned it more in this blog!

Rory's book club ( shares two out of four things I am quite passionate about: reading and Gilmore Girls!

If you aren't familiar with the show, it is about a woman (Lorelai) who came from a rich, well-bred family and got pregnant at 16. The show takes place after the daughter (Rory) begins her sophomore year of high school. The girls live in a small town with tons of character and charm. Rory gets accepted into a private school, but single mom Lorelai can't afford it, which causes her to ask her parents. This show is so funny and full of wit, family problems, relationship problems, and of course, books. Rory is a book maniac. In each episode there are several books mentioned along with other pop culture references, which makes it worthy of a book club!

It's a smaller book forum with people from countries around the world. Many members speak several languages and some don't read their books mostly in English. There is also a subforum for Jane Austen book discussions as well. I'm not too crazy about her though.

Check it out! The least it can do is give you some more suggestions for your reading adventures!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Know-it-All: Begin

I started The Know-it-All by A.J. Jacobs two hours after I finished East of Eden. My brother was desperate for a book so I lent him this. Funny, since the library lent it to me. He finished it just in time for me to pick it up to read after my driving lesson.

I read A.J.'s other book, The Year of Living Biblically earlier and I quite enjoyed it. He's pretty funny, but this book is turning out to be a little more fun. Instead of making me think about deep stuff, I am learning a few silly facts and being entertained. After a long bout with East of Eden, it's nice to have a lighthearted book now. A.J. Jacobs is pretty ambitious/desperate to get a good story. He read the entire encyclopedia in this book and takes what the Bible says literally in the other!

But, I assure you, my next book will be more involved. I already have three ordered from the library! It'll be one of these three: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, 1984 by George Orwell, or Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

East of Eden: Finished

Whew, that took a while. Considering it takes me an average of three days to read a book, this one was huge! It took me a week and 2 days to finish. I really liked it. As I have to write a paper on it I'm not going to share my entire analysis on it until I turn in the paper so I don't get accused for plagarizing because my English teacher may have checked up on the internet and found this. Wouldn't that be wierd?

It is supposed to be a book about the struggle of good/evil and Cain and Abel and the Garden of Eden. I found it to be a wonderful story of the battle between love and hate, and how everyone strives to be loved. Every human action can be traced back to wanting to belong and to be loved. Cal and Aron struggled for the love and attention of their father and Abra as their father hand his brother struggled for the love of their father.

Cal tried to trace his battle between good and evil to his genetics and how his mother was not a good person. I personally believe it doesn't have anything to do with that, but it seemed like Steinbeck was trying to show that the struggle to be loved goes across all generations and families due to Adam and Charles' struggle for their father's love and Cal and Aron's struggle for Adam's love and even when Abra wished for Lee to be her father because her father wasn't the person she wanted him to be.

If that isn't enough deep stuff for you, there is the ordeal of Aron making up who he wanted Abra to be in his mind then hoping it would actually turn out that way. It made me think whether parents do this subconsciously to their children and whatnot.

If you are in for a book that will make you think, go for it! This is going on my list of favorite books, so obviously it is a 5/5 :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



I try to find a book blog similar to mine and nothing really shows up. I want to mainly talk about books. Some people have blogs and they might talk about a few books and call it a book blog but they will talk about a whole bunch of other stuff.

Guess I'm unique... :P

P.S. I have 100 pages left to go of East of Eden. Not too much time to go, considering how I read the first nearly 500 in a week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ghost of Books Past #4

Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi: I used this as a devotional. It wasn't the best. David Crowder should stick to songwriting. 2 / 5

It's Not About Me: Max Lucado is a genius. 3 1/2 / 5

O Pioneers!: This is one of my favorite books. I still am a Little House on the Prairie junkie, but this book has components of heavy duty literature in it, but it's a short book. I wrote a 9 page paper on this with no worries. I got an A 4 1/2 / 5

The Great Gatsby: This was another school book that people said is stupid. To a certain point I agree, but some things about it I really liked. I guess I have a love/hate relationship with it. 3 / 5

The Kite Runner: Everyone must read this! It's amazing! I went through months of people talking about it before I read it. Every good thing people have said about this book is true. 5 / 5

Kids are Americans Too: My dad told me to read this. Don't. 2 / 5

Uncensored: PC quoted this book profusely for a month or so. It has a permant place on my shelf lamp. 4 / 5

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: This book makes absolutely no sense. It's funny though. My dad told me to read this. It's one book everyone should at least try to read though. 3 1/2 / 5

Ghost of Books Past #3

Rahab's Story: This was a re-read but it's still one of my favorites. It takes the little bit the Bible tells about Rahab and makes it into a whole story about what may have happened. 3 1/2 / 5

The DaVinci Cod: This was a parody of the Da Vinci Code. I think someone who didn't like the original book would enjoy it more, though. 2 / 5

The Pearl: This is another short book that packs a punch. You can read this in one sitting for a really thought provoking story 3 1/2 / 5

The Crucible: I had to read this for school. I wasn't very impressed. 2 / 5

The Case For a Creator (student edition): I love Lee Strobel's books. They give actual proof for my religious beliefs, which is what most people demand when they question a Christian. 3 / 5

Ethan Frome: Everyone in my class hated this book because they don't think "picking apart" a book is right. If you took away the symbolism from this book, it wouldn't amount to anything at all. One way to tell what kind of a reader a person is is to ask them what they think about a book like this. If they say "stupid," they obviously don't read correctly. 4 / 5

The Secret Garden: This was one book I didn't get to read when I was little. I probably wouldn't have liked it anyway. 3 / 5

Ghost of Books Past #2

The Prayer of Jabez: Who ever would have thought a really small Bible passage could pack such a punch? 3 1/2 / 5

Digital Fortress: I am one of the few people that likes Dan Brown. This book is definitely not one of his best. The writing was crappy, the storyline was stupid, and failed to be suspenseful like the Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons. 2 / 5

Angels and Demons: I liked this book more than the Da Vinci Code. It was shocking. I guessed what would happen next and the complete opposite would happen! 4 / 5

Who Moved My Cheese?: This was really stupid. 1 / 5

A Thousand Splendid Suns: I think I liked this better than The Kite Runner! This is a must read for anyone. It was tough to read due to the sunject matter but it's a fantastic book! 5 / 5

The Ghost of Books Past

Since I do not have the patience to write a whole entry on each book I've read this year, I'm just going to do a few sentences on each. If I can remember... These will be installments until I finish writing about all of the books, most recent, to the first book I read this year.

Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski: Alex and I were talking about books and she reccomended this. I read it in less than 24 hours. It's about this guy who decides to be homeless for a few months to know what it is like to depend totally on God. 3 1/2 / 5

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs: This is not some religious crud book. The guy who wrote this is really funny. He takes the Bible literally for a year, from stoning adulterers to not wearing clothes with mixed fibers. 4 / 5

The Kitchen god's Wife by Amy Tan: This book has a really good storyline about uncovering family secrets, which I have found out is the type of book I really like. I don't know why. It wasn't a page turner, but I liked it. 4 /5

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: This is a quick read unlike any of the survival stories you've ever read. A teenager and a bengal tiger are the only survivors of a shipwreck. Maybe I only liked it so much because it was the first book I read after my daunting AP English summer reading. 4 / 5

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Fyodor: My first book by a Russian author failed to impress me. Everyone told me it's great. IT'S NOT. It's a long, long, boring, book about a guy who kills 2 people and can't manage his money. That's all. Don't read it. 1 / 5

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey: Everyone I talked to hated it because of the whole Oprah thing, but I liked it. I understand why there is the odd punctuation style. I counted the book as fiction, not a memoir, so I could appreciate it more. (3 /5)

Othello : This was the first Shakespeare play I read on my own. I cheated. I had the No Fear Shakespeare edition. I'm still not a big fan of Shakespeare. (2 / 5)

So Super Starry: This was a stupid chick lit book I honestly don't remember anything about.

Getting the Boot: Another chick lit book about a girl who goets to study abroad and almost gets kicked out. I wanted to kill her.

Cupcake: I had to read the last book in the series! Gingerbread and Shrimp are the other books. This chick lit series is still close to my heart though.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I love this book. I overanalyzed everything and it took me forever to read it. LOVE it. That's all I can say. 5 / 5

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Post

This is the first time I have been reading actual books.

Actual books meaning things other than Meg Cabot and the like, or books whose covers usually feature some chic-y picture of a piece of candy or a high heel or something.

Like this:

(I have not actually read this book. It is just a good example of the typical cover I got from the barnes and noble site)
So, now that I am reading something other than what people on the online book club I belong to would call "chick lit," blogging could be a cool way to document it. I have been keeping a list of what I have read and want to read, but nothing else. I haven't put down how much I like it (or don't) or if I would read it again or want to own it.
So, I am doing it here.
Yes, I have let myself read a few stupid books this year, but many of the books have been something I am not embarrassed to tell people about. Roughly six of the 32 books I have read so far this year have been below my new standards.

East of Eden-Begin

Every quarter we are supposed to do some big project in AP English. This nine weeks, it is to read a book about an American author and write a paper on it. I already had one waiting to be read. I started East of Eden by John Steinbeck a few days ago. I really like it so far. I'm about to start part 2. Usually when this happens, it's like reading a whole new book. We'll see what happens. For a book that is considered "literature" enough for school, this book is great!


For the first actual book post, I have finished Atonement by Ian McEwan.

...And you didn't even know I had started!

This was a book that was put on my TBR list a while ago because the people on Rory's Book Club had gone ape over it, so onto the list it went. It was on the new books shelf of the library, so I got it. I had no idea what it was about, but if so many people liked it and my library actually had it, it had to be good.

Plus, I was the first person to ever check that book out. The yellow sticker is starting to peel off of the spine because it took me way longer to read than I expected.

I had been told that Atonement was similar to Pride and Prejudice, which isn't a good thing. I've tried twice to read P&P but I never got past chapter 6 or 7. It was too boring. If a book is boring, I don't read it. This book was boring, but not as boring as a Tale of Two Cities or the Scarlet Letter (the only two school books I didn't read).

It took me a great deal of patience to finish this book. It wasn't one of my favorites, but I found myself kind of fascinated by it. How the conflict of the book was know...but wasn't vulgar or profane. Shakespeare is more up front about "it" than Atonement is.

The story line is a bit complicated to explain, so here's what Barnes and Noble has to say about it:

"On an English country estate in the jittery, gilded era between the two great wars, two young people stand in the summer's heat, arguing by an ancient fountain. Cecilia is the daughter of the household, and Robbie is the cleaning woman's son, a brilliant boy whose Cambridge education has been benevolently financed by Cecilia's father. During their quarrel, the two manage to break a valuable porcelain vase, and in a fury largely engendered by her unacknowledged feelings for the young man, Cecilia strips off her clothes, leaps into the fountain and retrieves the fragments. It is a dazzling moment, full of beauty and ruin, lust and innocence, so highly charged that it's no wonder Cecilia's little sister, Briony, observing unseen from a window, feels a sense of menace. She concludes that Robbie has compelled her sister to do something shameful. This assumption, when combined with later events, brings disaster not simply to the two young people who are discovering themselves to be lovers, but to everyone else in the well-intentioned, prosperous family. " (

I love books that have a complete, happy ending. This novel didn't tie up all of the loose ends. It seemed to me like McEwan tried to use Briony's newly diagnosed mental illness as an excuse not to tell us whether Cecilia and Robbie were able to carry on with their romance and if Briony kept her promises to them.

I'd give it a 3/5 stars.