Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Month of March

Month: March
Books Read: 9
*Pages Read: 2297 (Plus most of The Fountainhead, about 600 pages)
Titles of Books Read:
Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson (Library Challenge)
Titanic Warning by Casey Sabella (Year of Reading Dangerously)
Now and Zen by Linda Gerber (Library Challenge)
Forever by Judy Blume
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Dewey)
Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell (Library Challenge)
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson (Library Challenge)
Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares (Library Challenge)
Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares (Library Challenge)
Favorite Books Read: Jacob Have I Loved, Girls in Pants, Forever in Blue
Least Favorite Books Read: Wuthering Heights
Blog Posts: 31

This Year so far
Books read: 29
Pages read: 8665
Blog Posts: 80

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

Even though I was focused on school reading this month, my pages read hasn't suffered too much. Plus, I've read about the same number of books as I have the past two months. Yay me!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell discusses her Fundamentalist Christian upbringing in this memoir. She doubts the faith that she grew up in and questions it openly. Why can't women be clergy? What would happen if we sung songs with a piano? Are Fundamentalists the only ones that go to heaven?

Very educating on Fundamentalism and Christianity in general, Cambell offers a satisfying mix of fact and personal anecdotes, which is a difficult thing to find in a memoir.

I've grown up in the church. Now my faith is more of my personal choice than my parents'. Lots of people think that parents brainwash their kids into religion, but that's not me. I've always wondered why people have such negative feelings about Christianity. I know there are two main reasons from what I have seen. People either think that religion is oppressive and is just a whole bunch of stupid rules to get to a place in the sky that we have no proof exists or they think Christians are hypocrites and they don't want to have anything to do with them.

I know my denomonation isn't all rules. From most denomonations, we are very slack on rules. Fundamentalism is seems to be the complete opposite. I think the people that think religion is just rules are only looking at Fundamentalists. Jesus wasn't concerned with following every rule to the letter. He even criticized those who did! He thought there were more important things to worry about than the nitpicky rules. This book broke my heart because the rules are what turned Cambell away from her church. Although she still has good feeling in general for religion, she still isn't very passionate about it. Churches should be more to people than just rules.
Grade: B+

Books Reviewed

These are the books I have reviewed since October 2008. This post will be updated frequently and will earn a spot as a page in my sidebar. Please feel free to link to my review if you read one of these books and review it! For quick reference, books I highly recommend have a * while books I do not recommend at all have a -

Books are alphabetically listed by title

1984 by George Orwell:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver:

*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith:

As I Have Loved You by Nikki Arana:

Bloomability by Sharon Creech:

Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell:

Dewey by Vicki Myron:

Girl, 13 by Starla Griffin:

Forever by Judy Blume:

*Hamlet by William Shakespeare:

*In The Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Achmed:

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen:

-The Nanny Diaries:

*Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden:

My Antonia by Willa Cather:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky:

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran:

*The Road by Cormac McCarthy:

*Scheisshaus Luck by Pierre Berg:

This is Chick Lit:

This is Not Chick Lit:

Off the Record by Jennifer O’Connell:

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett:

Westminster Abby by Micol Ostow:

-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte:

Review type thing: Wuthering Heights

I couldn't finish it. The last ten chapters were "sparknoted."

Yes, the book was that horrible.

I'm already not a big fan of Victorian-era writing. Even when I was little and was obsessed with American Girl Dolls, Samantha (the Victorian one) was my least favorite. Wuthering Heights increased my hatred for all things Victorian. You think Chick-Lit is petty and stupid? Just read a Bronte or an Austen...

It's a story of hatred disguised as love. It's a story that's supposed to have all these wonderful themes to read in between the lines about in AP English...

I know this isn't a real review. This is just me urging you to please skip this one. You'll thank me.

(I recently read a much better hate review on Wuthering Heights but can't manage to find it. If you've reviewd it, leave a comment with a link!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Salon: The watching-the-groundhog-outside-my-window Post

I almost forgot to so a Sunday Salon post because I was too busy (you guessed it) reading!

No, I'm not done with The Fountainhead yet, but I'm pretty close. I'm dreading finishing it because that means I have to write an essay on it, but I just want to have it out of my mind!

Today I read the last half of the third Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book in one sitting (or laying. I was in my bed). I'm about to start the fourth. I don't want the series to end!

Right now, I'm also reading When Christ Comes by Max Lucado. I read about it on a non-bookish friend's blog and I was hooked! Heaven and the second coming of Christ is such a big mystery and this book is answering a lot of my questions.

I'm back in the cycle of ordering and picking books up from the library more rapidly than I'm reading them! Even though I've been caught up in school reading this month, I might still finish 10 books like I have the past two months, although they won't be as "literature-y" as they have been in past months.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Why reading is the best hobby out there

-Reading is free if you only get books from the library.
-Reading isn't a competition to be the best like sports are.
-Reading doesn't require expensive equipment like cars or scrapbooking do.
-Reading is very easily portable.
-Books come in many formats to suit whatever situation.
-There are so many books out there that anyone can find their niche.
-Reading doesn't take a certain talent or skill.
-You can't get injured reading. Paper cuts don't count.
-There are always second chances in reading. If you lose a sporting event, you have to wait another whole year!
-You don't get your clothes all messy with grease or mud when you read.
-Reading doesn't make noise that annoys those living with you.
-You don't have to go to practices for the hobby of reading unless you are in elementary school.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

A lot of people have negative reactions to Shakespeare, especially my classmates. I find that while many of my classmated moan and groan when the teacher mentions anything involving the man with the large forehead, I don't mind.

Shakespeare is great in moderation. I definitely wouldn't want to take a whole course on it! The best way to study Shakespeare is to experience it in many different formats.

Here's my preferred method:
1. Read a summary of the scene or act you will be reading next. Sparknotes is usually my choice. This lets you understand what you are reading.
2. Read the section in its Elizabethan gibber gabber. Focus on trying to gain an overall understanding of what you read, rather than searching for symbolism and stuff.
3. Watch the movie while following along in the book AND/OR read the "No Fear Shakespeare" Version. This time, try to look for sumbols and themes that may be discussed on a test if you are reading it for school.

I've read four Shakespeare plays and really liked two of them: Hamlet and Romeo and Julliet. I really didn't like Julius Caesar and Othello was okay.

I think the people that don't like Shakespeare didn't give it a fair chance and decided to rush through it. You need to take your time and make sure you have an understanding of what you are reading!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Library Loot: March 25-April 2 2009

It's been a while since I've checked out books from the library. Yay! I've missed my library loot! I'm going to have some light reading for a while to take a break from The Fountainhead and Wuthering Heights.

The Christ Comes by Max Lucado

3:13 : The Numbers of Hope by Max Lucado

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

Forever in Blue: The Fouth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brahsares

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

2009 Spring Reading Thing

Katrina at Calapidder Days ( is hosting the 2009 Spring Reading Thing where readers list the books they plan to read between march 20 and June 20.
Here's my list. I left plenty of wiggle room. I know that random books will come up that I absolutely HAVE to read!
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3 and 4
The Last Pope
When Christ Comes by
A Clockwork Orange
The Bell Jar
Native Son
The Fountainhead
3:16 The Numbers of Hope
The Grapes of Wrath
Brave New World
I Capture the Castle
Marley and Me
The Shack
Breaking Dawn
The Road
Black Beauty
My Little Red Book

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


(From Awkward, sweet, passionate, innocent, secretive . . . Do you remember your first time? Katherine and Michael won't ever forget theirs. They were seniors in high school. Totally crazy for each other, they thought they had found the one. It was first love, and it was perfect: long talks on the phone, ski trips, and double dates when they simply couldn't wait to be alone. But was Katherine and Michael's relationship the love of a lifetime, or merely the beginning of a lifetime of love?
This book begged me to read it. I first read about it in Everything I Needed to Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and then my trig buddy Natalie read it...and reread it. I borrowed it from her.
This book has been around since my mother was my age. That is embarrassing to think about. This book is just so open, honest, and frank about sex. It's uncomfortable for a squeamish person like me to read. I totally understand why it caused so much controversy when it was published. Even now, if I had a daughter, I wouldn't want her to read it.
Forever...makes a sad attempt to portray the emotional side of sex. Katherine does mention it several times, but a majority of the novel is focused on the physical. The only thing that Michael and Katherine's relationship focuses around is the physical. They have one, maybe two heart to heart moments in the whole book. The rest is just body to body.
If what Michael and Katherine experienced was love, no thank you!
Aside from my personal opinion, it is still a good book. Judy Blume is one of the forefathers (foremother?) of the YA genre. I admire how she wasn't afraid to write about anything, and I know many girls have benefitted from her fearlessness. Judy Blume says things that teenagers wouldn't listen to if they heard it from their parents.
Grade: B

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Book Lovin'

It's been a long time since I've read a really good book. The last thing I read that I wanted to hug because it was so good was Hamlet, and before that was Memoirs of a Geisha, both in November.

I need to read something fantastic in the month of April. It's been 5ish months since I've fallen in love with a book.

So, I need your help.

Comment and tell me what your favorite books have been. If you list several, pick just one absolute favorite if you can! I will chose one book to read and review next month.

The Sunday Salon: Lists!

Since I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel of assigned reading, I've started making lists of what books I want to get from the library next. Since I need to order books for the next month and enough to keep me busy during the read a thon, my list is much longer than usual!

Relentless by Simon Kernick
The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3 and 4
The Last Pope by David Osborn
Sixteen by Megan McCafferty
When Christ Comes by Max Lucado
A Clockwork Orange
The Bell Jar
Native Son

Along with these, I hope to get my hands on the last two Twilight books (good books for the read a thon!). I also have some books on my shelf that would be suitable for the read a thon. I made the hugs mistake of only getting classics to read last time so I will not make that mistake again!

It's like Christmas all over again!

Friday, March 20, 2009


I've been thinging about doing this for a while. This is my new blog. It is not about books. Nothing will change about this blog because of my new blog. Behold, The Thing That Reads A Lot is still my primary concern!

Please do not feel obligated to visit or follow. The purpose of this new blog mainly for people I know, but you all are welcome to read as well! I realize many will not agree with many of my posts since they will mostly be religion and politics. I just wanted to throw it out there!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booking through Thursday

How about, “What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

Hands down The Lord of the Flies.

I had to read it in 10th grade and my teacher had us take quizzes every few chapters that were graded by another student. Then, you'd say your score so she could record it in her gradebook.

I kept on failing these quizzes. After a while she asked,

"You really don't like this book, do you Sarah?"


I still read the whole thing. I can't say A Tale of Two Cities or The Scarlet Letter were bad because I stopped reading them!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Yesterday was a beautiful day, not only with the weather outside, but with my assigned reading.

I am over haldway done with The Fountainhead. If you want to get real technical, I'm 4/7 of the way done.

AND I'm about 2/3 of the way done with Wuthering Heights!

I'm going to start planning what I'm going to read when this is all over. To motivate myself, you know?

Hallelujah I saw the light!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Not Just About the Leprechauns Today!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Ok. I admit. I used a leprechaun as an excuse to wish myself a happy birthday...a happy half blog birthday that is!

I started this blog six months ago.

I definietly didn't expect what it has become! Instead of a simple way to document the books I read so I don't totally forget, it had turned into my piec eof a community I didn't even know existed. Instead of just reviews, it is a Booking Through Thurdsay, Sunday Salon, Blog Improvement Project, Library Loot blog, not to mention the challenges I am in!

Thank you to the 9 people who have decided to follow my blog! You make this all worth it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quote a Day #7

"I write this while sitting in the kitchen sink."

-I Capture the Castle

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quote A Day #6

"In the end we are all just searching for truth, that of which is greater than ourselves."
-Angels and Demons

Cookie Cutter Literature

It's a debate I've had every year in English.

Is there only one story?

Are all books based off of one concept? Even though the setting and plot and characters change, is there only one base story?

I know Chick-Lit gets a lot of criticism for being very cookie-cutter, but a lot of extremely literary people think all books have a bit of Chick-Lit syndrome.

I'd like to know your thoughts. I need more ammo for the next time if comes up in a discussion ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stop the madness!

I can't stand to even think about books any more. I have yet another reading assignment! This means that I will be reading 3-4 books at once. I know my limits and this is surpassing it.

I have one book for pleasure to read, but it may turn into my book for this new paper I was just assigned. Either way, I'm miserable in reading land.

So if I am not posting, you know why. I'd have to think about books to post.

And the girl who dared to read Chick-Lit YA analysis!

Just as I did when I read all of those Chick-Lit books back in January, I decided that I would do the same for another genre. I plan to post a bimonthly post on an analytical aspect of books of some sort. This month’s post is in Young Adult novels.

I read Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson, Deenie by Judy Blume, Now and Zen by Linda Gerber, Torn to Pieces by Margot McDonnell, and First Daughter.

I found that most of the books followed the same general story line. Some big event happened in a normal teenager’s life that altered how they viewed the world. There aren’t too many YA books that deal with strictly the thoughts and everyday lives of teenagers. There has to be some action to keep them reading the book.

In every book, each protagonist had a great realization towards the end of the novel about their behavior or the circumstances they were put in.

I think YA books don’t strive to entertain as much as they strive to provide a source of understanding for teenagers. Often, the teenage years are characterized by turmoil in many forms. Each of the teenagers in the books experienced some big event. In Prom, it was Prom and the struggle to succeed in school and have a social life and deal with family issues. Deenie struggled with scoliosis and being accepted by her peers. Now and Zen discussed the difficulty in being who you actually are instead of acting like someone else, as did First Daughter.

Torn to Pieces was the most complicated of the books I read. It was very similar to a Lois Lowry book or The Face on the Milk Carton. I felt my heart beating so quickly throughout the few hours it took me to read this book. So much happened in the two hundred pages of the book I couldn’t handle it, and it made me wonder how the main character would have handled it! Of all the books I read, this one is the must-read!

A very common thread in all the books was that all of the protagonists were the normal kids. None of them were star students or athletes or super popular. Although this was inaccurate for real life, it is nice to have something in the world that doesn’t focus on the superstars. It isn’t the superstars who rely on a book to get them through a tough time, it is the “normal” kids. How appropriate is it that the characters are ones that they can relate to!

Of course, a lot of teenagers read these books just for entertainment, and that is fine. It is actually great! They are reading!

Quote A Day #5

"Don't try to make life a mathematice problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you are good, bad things can still happen. And if you are bad, you can still be lucky."
-The Poisonwood Bible

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Best of Blogs

In the past couple of months, there have been a lot of new readers to this blog. Not a lot of people were with me since the beginning almost six months ago, so I am going to highlight what I think are some of my best posts, the cream of the crop!

Reading Chick-Lit Analytically ( for my senior project, I viewed Chick-Lit with a feminist perspective. For this post, I talked about my findings of reading the genre (which is often written off as mindless fluff) analytically.

Scheisshaus Luck by Pierre Berg ( This is one of my favorite reviews. I really don’t know why, maybe it is one of the first really good reviews I wrote?

A Teenager’s Battle On Low Expectations ( This post was inspired by a book. Rather than reviewing the book, I offered my views on this topic. One of my strongest views is that if entitlement and expectations changed, the world would be a better place. The book and this post tackles that!

Kindle? ( The ongoing debate on the kindle or whether screens or pages are better!


What is your favorite(s) post you have read? I’ll add it here under the reader favorites heading!

Quote A Day #4

"You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast."

-East of Eden

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quote A Day #3

"Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to."

-Angels and Demons

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Salon: I took the weekend off!

Since reading isn't too much fun right now because I'm reading The Fountainhead and Wuthering Heights and about to start Jane Eyre, I took this weekend off. I'm a little behind on my school reading, but I devoted this weekend to some light reading.

I finished three books, all of which are quick reads. Now I've read so much this weekend that reading anything right now makes me nauseaus! Still, life has to go on. I start catching up on The Fountainhead tomorrow. I'm really not looking forward to it...

Since I'm not going to prom, I'm living it through books. Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson made me happy that I'm not going to prom because this prom experience was a nightmare. A few weeks before prom, a teacher steals all of the money and it goes downhill from there. I thought out prom on a crowded boat was going to be horrible. It will be, but this one definitely was worse! The high school in the book reminded me a lot of my own as well!

This was one of the freebies I got from my church library. The concept of the book was interesting, using the Titanic disaster as a metaphor of today's church. The book was kind of boring though. No wonder only one person signed it out.

Ok, I'll admit it. The SASS series is my guilty pleasure. How bad can it get? All of these books follow the same storyline. Girl goes to foreign country to get away from situation at home and wastes most of her time in the country until she has a great realization a week before she goes back home. She apologizes to everyone, kisses the boy that she was ignoring, and wins some award.

But I love them!

Quote A Day #2

"One recipe for happiness is to have to sense of entitlement."

-The Uncommon Reader

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Quote A Day #1

"If they substituted the word 'lust' for 'love' in the popular songs it would come nearer to the truth."

-The Journals of Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To analyze or not to analyze...

I haven't been posting much lately because I'm in the middle of a lot of heavy reading that is only going to get worse. I'm reading The Fountainhead, Wuthering Heights, and will soon start Jane Eyre. I wouldn't have chosen to read all of these at once, but it is hard!

I have to read all of these books analytically. I know if I wasn't reading them for school, I wouldn't dig so deep. What books do you think have to be thoroughly analyzed in order to appreciate? What books that are usually picked apart can do without all the reading between the lines? Also, what books do you think could use some reading between the lines? I did an analysis of Chick Lit and fond out some interesting things. Are there other books/genres that would benefit from something like this?

I'd like to hear what you think!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Salon-Book Growths

In the past 24 hours, my TBR list has grown as well as my book collection! It's been quite eventful!

TBR List

I hung out at barnes and Noble for about a half hour while the rest of my family was looking at video games. I whipped out my trusty notecards and got to work, browsing the shelves for titles to add to my TBR list, and here is what I came up with:

Things I Want My Daughters To Know by Elizabeth Noble: A mother knows that she will die soon and writes letters to her daughters
Suite Francaise by Ireme Nemirovsky: While looking at this book in the store, I thought it would be a good WW2 story, but after reading all the things the Barnes and Noble website has to say about it, this is going towards the top of my list to read next!
The Last Pope by David Osborn: Looks like this may be a lot like Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. I'm in the mood for a good thriller like that right now!
Sixteen by Megan McCafferty: A collection of short stories about sweet sixteens. Hope this book won't be as disappointing as my sweet sixteen!
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: This is Rory's Book Club's March selection. I wasn't going to read it because of all the other reading I have to do this month, but after reading the first page, I didn't want to put it down.


For some unknown reason, my church is giving away all the books in their "library." Score!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Pilgrims Progress (A very pretty version too!)
My Utmost for his Highest
Titanic Warning (Using the Titanic as a religious metaphor)
My dad also got me a huge Biblical commentary for when I go to college. It is the biggest book I've ever held or owned!

Month of February

Month: February
Books Read: 10
*Pages Read: 2868
Titles of Books Read: The Little Prince, Everything I Needed to Know About Being A Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, Animal Vegetable Miracle, New Moon, Do Hard Things, Hands of My Father, It's Not About the Tapas, First Daughter, Torn to Pieces, Deenie
Favorite Books Read: Torn to Pieces, Do Hard Things
Least Favorite Books Read: none were extraordinarily horrible
Blog Posts: 21
Books Acquired: none

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

This Year so far:
Books read: 20
Pages read: 6368
Blog Posts: 50