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.