Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Book week September 25th-October 2

Today marks the first day of banned book week. A week to fight against efforts of censorship and to uplift the many challenged books. For more information you can go here to the ALA website.

To celebrate I went to my library's website and requested a bunch of banned books. Including children's books to read to my 16 month old twins, I selected (among others) And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell since this seems to consistently show up on lists for some insane reason. In my opinion it looks adorable and I can't wait to read it to my kids.

For the record any kind of censorship is ridiculous and makes me furious. This week in my reading for both myself and my children I plan to focus specifically on "banned books"

And what's more is that many bloggers are hosting giveaways to celebrate banned book week. Carol's Prints is hosting an amazing giveaway with a banned books bracelet (That I really want) plus some great books. Go on over and check it out. The giveaway ends tomorrow!

Monday, September 13, 2010

"User Barred"...

We just moved to a new city and one of my first tasks was obtaining a library card (as I promised my husband I would keep my book buying under control). This library is also far larger than the system in my rural hometown and so each night I go on-line and request different books. Then they are delivered right to the drive up window of the library around the corner. Seriously, the drive up window at the library is the greatest idea ever, as I discovered when I attempted to browse inside the library with my 16 month old twins. It was an epic fail and I left without a book that day. (Drive-up window = lifesaver).

Last night I sat down with my list of books, went on-line to my account, and starting looking up my newest picks. I then clicked the "hold" button only to have a big read box show up that said, "user barred".

You, have no idea how much this devastated me. I immediately, tried again thinking perhaps I mistyped my log in information. It must be a mistake, how could they bar me? I have never had a late book (at this library), heck I've only been using this library for a month. When my second attempt resulted in the same angry red box, my next plan of attack was to scour the website trying to see what kind of offensive I could have committed to be banned from placing holds, or checking out books.

This search was to no avail and I sat defeated in my chair. My husband looked at me and asked, "Why do you look like you're going to cry?"

"Marcus they've barred me from the library. Why would they do that? What did I do? Do you think they found out that I still haven't returned a book from ______(my rural library)? Maybe I'm on some kind of wanted list?" (I was being a little dramatic).

Marcus laughed and shook his head at all of this (especially the notion that there's some kind of library connection out to bar those with late returns from using any library in the state).

Since it was Sunday evening I had no recourse except to send an email inquiry and hope that it was all some big mistake. Then I went to bed...

This morning at work I was checking my email and noticed that my newest amazon order had shipped... the only problem was I had no memory of placing the order.

Turns out when I get barred from the library I order books in the middle of the night with no memory of the event.

Luckily, after several panicked email correspond the bar has been lifted and all is right in my book checking out library world. (And hopefully that will end late night amazon orders that I don't remember).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mockingjay sighting...

I'm a nerd, I realize, but I own it and I don't really care. I had to go to Wal.Mart (not my fav.) because the babies needed more formula and it's right next to our house. I decided to check out the books, just to see if maybe by some mistake they accidently put Mockingjay on the shelves a day early.

I wandered over casually and as I stood there an employee was stocking the shelves. I saw a box labeled, "Do not display until 8/24" and I just knew it held Mockingjay. So I awkwardly start staring as she proceeds with her stocking duties.

I'm silently hoping she won't notice the side of the box and put a few copies out. She did in fact open the box, and I slyly/Casually/ super awkwardly tried to look inside and I saw the light blue covers.

At this point my slyness/casualness is just full blown awkward so she gives me a look and asks, "Can I help you with something?"

"um... no thank you I'm just looking"

While in my head I'm plotting how I can remove one of the books from the box unnoticed. She then pulls one out and my hopes are raised... she's going to display them.

But, then she checked something on her little device put the book back in the box and walked away.

So very close.

I wonder if I go at midnight if they'll give me one. After all midnight does officially make it August 24th which is the release date.

(Marcus thinks I'm only mildly insane).  He did later say that maybe he should have caused some sort of diversion (it's not hard when shopping with twins) and I could have grabbed myself a book.

Not that I'd ever be brave enough to do that but a girl can dream.

Mockingjay is released tomorrow...

and to celebrate many bloggers are hosting Hunger Game giveaways including The Nerds Wife. Just go to that link or here to enter to win Hunger game necklaces or T-shirts.

I've been trying to think about my strategy for obtaining a book tomorrow. I have to work at 9, so I'm thinking of getting up early, finding a store that carries the book and then taking it to work with me. Where it will sit tempting me on my desk all day waiting for me to start reading.

Although I suppose if I actually want to be a productive employee tomorrow I should probably wait until after work to buy it. Decisions, decisions...

I'm so excited (much to Marcus' amusement)!! And if you are too go to the above links and enter to win cool Hunger Games Stuff!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Flash Back Friday: American Girl (Addy)

Flashback Friday is a chance to showcase books that you loved as a kid or teenager. Hosted by Lovely Little Shelf
 I loved the American Girl dolls and books when I was a little girl. My favorite of all of the books were those about Addy a young girl who escapes slavery with her mom in 1864. I remember reading the first book about Addy and the description of her enslavement on a plantation. As punishment for missing a few grubs on the plants the overseer forced her to eat the grubs. As I read this book I can remember being moved to tears, which was an odd experience being 7 or 8 years old.

These books were my first look and encounter with our nations history of slavery and the subsequent racism that followed the emancipation. I am indebted to the American Girl stories about Addy that opened my worldview and mind to something bigger and an issue which is still so very important to me. I hope as my children grow they too will want to read these books so that their worlds and perspective can grow with them. Hopefully allowing them to grow into young adults with an eye towards compassion and justice. 

All of my Addy Books
And me a few weeks ago at the American Girl store in Minneapolis. I've wanted to go since I was a little girl and finally had my chance. In the bag is the newest Addy book (one they had written since I was younger) An Addy Mystery. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Musing Mondays: Distractions...

This week’s musing asks…
Can you read amidst distractions? (tv, others talking, sporting events, etc)
Oh yes, I can without a doubt read amidst distractions. This is a talent I developed growing up in small homes with 5 siblings. It was pretty much a necessary survival skill in my house if I ever wanted to get any reading done. It's funny now though because when I read I still don't hear or notice things around me. My husband can talk and talk and I'll look up eventually and ask, "Did you say something?" 
I think the best story of this that I have growing up is on a long car trip in our crowded van surrounding by my 5 siblings. I don't remember where we were going but it was winter and the weather was awful and the roads were slick with ice. At one point our van spun out of control and we almost crashed into another vehicle (luckily all was avoided and we were fine). 
I missed the entire thing because I was so into my book. My brother was horrified that nothing could get me out of the book and I can't remember his exact comment but he just kept asking what was wrong with me? Haha I just like to read what can I say. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In my mailbox (4)...

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox, library, or shopping bag on a weekly basis. Here's what I acquired this week:

From the Library: 
Ford County by John Grisham
(Finally I requested this from the library weeks ago)

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
For an online book club. 

Special by Scott Westerfeld
I'm not really sure why I bothered to check this one out. I own the first book in the series because I bought it for a $1 at a used book store. Then went to search for book #2 and of course the library didn't have it. 

The Stand Stephen King
I'm borrowing this from my MIL's friend because the library copy I checked out smelled so awful. My MIL even tried to air out for me but no dice (I am a library snob after all).

Under the Dome Stephen King
I'm heard amazing things about this book and when I saw the paperback version for a bargain price I just couldn't resist. Despite my efforts to cut back on my book buying. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Confession: I'm a library snob...

This is a recent discovery that I've made in the past few weeks since returning to the small hometown where I grew up. Growing up I loved our small town library. It was the only library I knew and I looked forward to our trips so I could check out as many books as possible (usually 15-20) despite the librarians  disapproval saying I could never finish that many books in 3 weeks (I did). I had a special bag that I kept all of my library books in and I went home and began devouring them one after the other sometimes staying up all night long reading (I wonder if my mom knew).

Then many years later I moved away from my small town and for the last three years my libraries have looked like this:

I've become accustomed to not only being surround by physically beautiful libraries but also having access to millions of books. So when I left these millions of volumes and returned to my small hometown in rural Nevada I have been nothing but disappointed by the library. 

My visits to the library go something like this: I make a list of books, check the computer to see if they're available (most the library computer has never even heard of the books I want), a few times the book is available, I excitedly go and look for the book, it's not where it's suppose to be. I ask and get a response inquiring about my alphabetizing skills, and then I leave disappointed and annoyed. (And many of their audio books are on cassettes). 

I've put in requests for books which takes weeks and the library has no WIFI *gasp* I was shocked with I learned this. Where do you go to work? Where do you go to write in a quiet space? Seemingly I have become accustomed to much grander libraries and my beloved childhood library now serves as a source of disappointment.

Sadly, all of this led to the discovery that I am library snob. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flash Back Friday: The O.J. Simpson Trial...

Yes, you read the title correctly the O.J. Simpson trial. Which I realize is probably not among most peoples childhood reading favorites, but for me it was. My entire life I wanted to be a lawyer (and I'll be honest I still haven't fully given up on that thought) and because of this desire I loved reading about and studying the legal and judicial system (I was a strange kid). The murders happened the Summer before 4th grade for me in 1994, and the trial and verdict took place during my 5th grade year. I actively followed the case and can clearly remember watching the verdict read live on TV.

After the trial and verdict the books surrounding the case began to be published and I eagerly started my collection as I read books by Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden (the D.A.s), a book about O.J. Simpson's "Dream Team" a book written by an investigator, and a book written by the family of Ron Goldman. I also had a book that served as an education tool that had a glossary of terms which I studied and included forms that the jury and the judges and lawyers would have filled out during the trial. 

I even bought O.J. Simpson's first book, although even in the 6th grade this caused me pause and question whether I wanted to own his book. In the end I bought it for two reasons: 1) It was in the bargain bin for $3 and 2) I decided that any good lawyer should be willing to read both sides (I took these things very seriously). 

I also wrote my first research paper on the O.J. Simpson trial in the 6th grade. While all of my classmates browsed the internet and library for resources I simply brought my own collection to school.

I'm not entirely sure what my mom thought of my fascination with the trial and my requests for these books for christmas and birthday presents (I'll have to ask her) or my teachers for that matter, but the trial and these books were very much a part of my childhood reading experience in 5th and 6th grade. 
My O.J. Simpson trial book collection

Monday, July 5, 2010

Musing Mondays: What are you reading?

 This week’s musing is going to be a bit simpler…
What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it to others? Is it part of a series (if so, which one)? What are you thinking about it? What book(s) would you compare it to, if any?
I'm reading, A Long Walk to Freedom The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. I would without a doubt recommend the book to others. It's an insightful look at a man who dedicated his life working towards justice in South Africa. My knowledge of the apartheid in South Africa is sadly not what it should be and I'm using this book to as a first step to educating myself more about the situation. This is one of those books that I read with a pad of post-it notes next to me so I can mark the pages and passages that have quotes and statements I know I'll want to be able to find. 
In my opinion everyone should read this book, although I know that long autobiographies are not for everyone. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I read in June...

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
2. Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy
3. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
4. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
5. Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of An Ordinary Women by Lisa Scottoline
6. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephanie Meyer
7. The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of A Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx
8. When Chicago Ruled Baseball: The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906 by Bernard A. Weisberger
9. March by Geraldine Brooks
10. Orange is the New Black: My Year in A Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
11. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
12. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
13. The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
14. Snow Apples by Mary Razzell

Monday, June 28, 2010

Musing Mondays: Hype...

This week’s musing asks…
What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype?(think of the “Twilight” saga, or “Harry Potter”, or “The Da Vinci Code”). Do you read them? Why, or why not?
Well, initially I try to resist books that receive a lot of hype. The Harry Potter Books for example I REFUSED to pick up a book, REFUSED to see a movie because it was all just too big and crazy and I wanted no part of that. Then... the summer of 2007 arrived. I had just graduated from college and my husband and I were living with my In-laws until moving east for graduate school. I was bored, my mother-in-law has a ton of books so I tentatively picked up the first Harry Potter and then I was hooked. I proceeded to quickly read the next three and then as my husband and I were driving across the country to move I made him stop in Iowa because I needed to buy book #5. Then I read #6 and #7.  The rest is Harry Potter history. I own all the books, I eagerly await each of the movies. I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd now. I just like to think that by waiting until 2007 to start the books I never had to wait for the next book to be written I could just go get the next one and read one right after the other. 

The same thing happened with Twilight. I was bored one summer (they had all been written) I picked them up and read all of them in a few days. And what can I say I love Dan Brown even without any hype his are books I would read. So I suppose I try to resist but in the end I can't. I'm a lover of books and I suppose I really should just stop trying to resist hype and just go with it. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Musing Mondays: Favorite Genres...

 This week’s musing asks:
Name your top 2-3 favorite genres (the ones you read most from).
Musing Mondays is hosted by Should be Reading
I read a lot of nonfiction. Mostly memoirs and autobiographies. I love reading about the lives of people, the things they've overcome, the lessons they've learned. Most autobiographies give me hope that there really are good people in the world who are trying to do better. (I say most because not all autobiographies or memoirs follow that formula, like the Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx eek...). I also find that memoirs and autobiographies offer a lot of good material for sermons and I'm constantly on the lookout for sermon inspiration.
I also really enjoy legal thrillers like John Grisham and Lisa Scottoline. I spent most of my life wanting to be a lawyer and starting reading these authors in the fifth grade. Now I'm just hooked on these authors and will read anything they write.   
Finally,  I love dystopia and utopian genres but I haven't had much luck in finding large quantities of these books. But Books like 1984, Brave New World, The Giver, The Hunger Games are my personal favorites. If anyone knows of any books that fall into this category please point me in that direction. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: When Chicago Ruled Baseball by Bernard A. Weisberger

The Book: When Chicago Ruled Baseball The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906 by Bernard Weisberger. (From Goodreads) In 1906, the baseball world saw something that had never been done. Two teams from the same city squared off against each other in an intracity World Series, pitting the heavily favored Cubs of the National League against the hardscrabble American League champion White Sox. Now, for its centennial anniversary, historian Bernard A. Weisberger tells the tale of a unique time in baseball, a unique time in America, and a time when Chicago was at the center of it all. 

What I Thought: I found this book sitting on a stack of books in my in-laws house and immediately started reading it mostly because I'm a huge Chicago Cubs fan. I loved this book. Weisberger recounts each of the six games in the 1906 series. However, the best part of the book for me were the pieces of history woven throughout the book. Weisberger includes information about the formation of both the Cubs and White Sox teams, information about the owners, uniforms, players, money situations, formation of leagues, and the ways information and play by plays about the games would be transmitted to others. (Did you know at one point it was suggested the uniform colors correspond with the players position i.e. all the catchers would wear blue, pitchers another color etc. So the players on the field would look like the rainbow. This idea was quickly eliminated but I found the suggestion hilarious. Rainbow colored uniforms haha). 

I will say one of the downsides in reading this book is not being familiar with the teams of 1906 (obviously). Weisberger does an amazing job recounting each of the games and he spends a chapter introducing each of the teams but it was still difficult to keep all of the names and players straight while going through the game chapters. However that is just a minor downfall and not a huge deal in the scheme of things, since all of the historical baseball facts more than makes up for it.

My Rating: B+

Overall a really well written, interesting, and fairly quick read. If your a baseball fan at all this book is well worth of the read. I loved learning about the logistics and history of baseball in the early years. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Musing Mondays: Readers in the Family...

This week’s question was inspired by an online book group I belong to…
Who in your family (both immediate & extended) are readers, and who are not?
I have 5 siblings and out of the five I would say only one of them is a reader at all. The other four rarely if ever pick up a book. Although my youngest sister (who is 18) has always enjoyed listening to books. When she was much younger she used to fall asleep each night listening to the Harry Potter Books.

My husband unfortunately is not a reader. I am always encouraging and trying to find books that will keep his interests but it's just not something he really enjoys although he does like reading out loud to our one year old twins. My mom reads some but we have completely different tastes in books. My MIL is probably the person in my family who is the biggest reader aside from myself. She loves buying books and reading books and she has a really great collection. I love going to her house because literally everywhere I look are piles of books that I can just pick up and read. It's also nice to have someone who understands how much joy a new book can bring and also to have someone to talk about books with.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What I read in May...

1. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
2. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
3. Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel by Alice Walker
4. Morrie: In His Own Words by Morrie Schwartz
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. Cop on Loan by Jeannie Watt
7. Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy
8. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
9. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levitthan
10. I'm looking Through To You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir by Jennifer Finney Boylan
11. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
12. The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen
13. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffen

I'm back!

I was absent due to finishing my masters degree and graduating, my husband finishing his BS and graduating, packing, saying goodbyes, moving 2709 miles across the country, and all kinds of other fun stuff. Hopefully, I can get into some kind of regularity with this blog now that my life has kind of calmed down (I'm still job hunting and have one year old twins so it will only be so calm). So here's to better book blogging! We shall see how that goes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: Empire Falls by Richard Russo

 The Book: (From Goodreads) Dexter County, Maine, and specifically the town of Empire Falls, has seen better days, and for decades, in fact, only a succession from bad to worse. One by one, its logging and textile enterprises have gone belly-up, and the once vast holdings of the Whiting clan (presided over by the last scion’s widow) now mostly amount to decrepit real estate. The working classes, meanwhile, continue to eke out whatever meager promise isn’t already boarded up.

Miles Roby gazes over this ruined kingdom from the Empire Grill, an opportunity of his youth that has become the albatross of his daily and future life. Called back from college and set to work by family obligations—his mother ailing, his father a loose cannon—Miles never left home again. Even so, his own obligations are manifold: a pending divorce; a troubled younger brother; and, not least, a peculiar partnership in the failing grill with none other than Mrs. Whiting. All of these, though, are offset by his daughter, Tick, whom he guides gently and proudly through the tribulations of adolescence.

 Shot through with the mysteries of generations and the shattering visitations of the nation at large, it is a social novel of panoramic ambition, yet at the same time achingly personal. In the end, Empire Falls reveals our worst and best instincts, both our most appalling nightmares and our simplest hopes, with all the vision, grace and humanity of truly epic storytelling.

What I thought: I've had this book on my TBR list for awhile for a couple of reasons. Primarily because it won the Pulitzer prize. I so badly wanted to like this book but it was just not a book that read easily for me. In fact I read three other books in the midst of starting this one because I just couldn't get into it. The entire story centers on the town of Empire Falls and more particularly around Miles Roby who runs a restaurant in the town.

Russo gives a somewhat detailed exploration of each of the important people in Miles Roby's life and this is a book primarily focused on the characters. In fact there were so many characters that it took me a 100 pages or so to get them all straight in my mind. The character development was amazing as was the attention to detail. Russo is an excellent writer many of the characters came alive in my mind. However, that wasn't quite enough for me. I wanted more of a plot, I wanted a little bit more forward motion, I just kept waiting for something more throughout the entire thing.

My Rating: B
I struggled trying to rate this book because it's not a bad book. The writing is excellent as is the character development. However, this book was just unsatisfying for me. When I finished I was just neutral and indifferent to the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Candace Bushnell book signing...

Last friday Candace Bushnell came to a bookstore nearby and I couldn't resist another reading and book signing. This signing was a little different than Jodi Picoult's because I had never read anything by Candace Bushnell, but I'm a huge fan of the show Sex & the City so I wanted to see the woman who was responsible for one of my favorite series.

She was different than I expected, although I can't even really explain why. She read a passage from her newest book The Carrie Diaries (which I now own a signed copy of, review coming soon) and then answered questions. Much of them centering on Sex & The City. I actually learned a ton of things I didn't know. For example Carrie Bradshaw started off as her altar ego, there really is a Mr. Big (but she didn't marry him he married someone else) she had on tall adorable shoes that I could never ever pull off without breaking an ankle or looking like I was playing dress up. She also told a hilarious story about an IRL friend who behaves much like Samantha Jones. The story involved a party, a football player, and a cedar closet (I'll leave it at that). She was really very sweet and had a great approachable personality.

The only bummer about the entire thing was the staff at the bookstore were a little bit controlling about things. This wasn't a huge signing at all, but they gave us strict instructions. We could only have Candace write our name nothing else, they expected that we would take a picture with her while she was signing (which is dumb because who wants a picture of the top of her head as she's looking at the book...)
See...  a picture while she's signing not the best.

So I ignored that rule, it's much better to see each persons face (at least in my opinion).

The bookstore staff also really rushed people through the line. My friend came with me and he was asking Candace a question and one of the bookstore ladies rudely asked, "Do you want to get in line to ask your question?" Despite the fact that he had been waiting in line and it was his turn to ask a question. Candace very graciously clarified this and started to answer when the staff decided our turn was up and rushed us away while Candace was in mid-sentence. It seemed strange because Candace seemed really willing to engage each person for a bit but we kept getting pushed through. I did hang around browsing the bookstore and after everyone else had left I approached her again so we could ask another question, and I then also requested if I could have another picture this time without the table in the way.

Her response cracked me up. She said, "Sure Sadie you've been such a sweetie."(I got a pretty cranky look from a staff person when I made this request for once again defying their rules). Mostly I got a kick out of the fact that she remembered my name from earlier. It was a really fun night. She's great and I now want to actually read The Sex & the City book and I'm looking forward to part II of The Carrie Diaries. (And I did really love the bookstore. It was adorable and I would love to own one just like it. However, in mine I would let the author decide the rules of a signing instead of just rushing people through).

Me & Candace after the official signing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Musing Mondays: Books & Movies...

Musing Mondays2Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about movies based on books…
What happens when you see a movie based on a book/story, especially one you’ve not read? Do you feel the need to track it down and read it?

Musing Mondays is hosted by Just one more page
In a word yes. Although I almost always try to read books before watching the movie. Generally, the books are better (although there are exceptions like Forrest Gump the movie is way better than the book) and I don't like the movie to color my perspective of what I think characters look like or who they are. There have been a few instances though when I haven't known a movie had a book counterpart until watching the movie and seeing, "based on the novel by ______" in those cases I pretty much always go and find the book, especially if I really liked the movie. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In my mailbox (3)...

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox, shopping bag or library acquisitions on a weekly basis. This week I added the following:

Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands. This book comes out August 31, 2010. I won an advance readers edition through the goodreads first reads program. I've never read anything by Lynsay Sands and this book is a little outside the realm of what I normally read but I'm up for new things.

Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy another goodreads first reads giveaway win. I think the cover of this book is beautiful. 
The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies - This is from paperback swap and within the one book contains the three books: Fifth Business, The Manticore, & World of Wonder. For one of my reading challenges we're suppose to read a trilogy and after a quick google search for the best trilogies I decided to try out this one. We'll see I guess. (This is also not the cover my has but I couldn't for the life of me find the edition I received from paperback swap).

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell. I went to a book reading and signing for this book and so I of course had to purchase it and now own my own signed edition. 

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen - This is also an advanced readers edition. A book store in Mystic, CT was giving away copies of old Advanced readers editions and I can't resist free books.

Total new books = 5  Total price = $15 (For The Carrie Diaries) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Book: (from Goodreads) In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

What I thought: I only picked up this book because I have heard tons and tons of good things about it, which generally makes me run in the other direction. (I'm strange I know but I didn't read any Harry Potter until book 7 came out because I resist things that seem to be over done fads). Anyways, I was immediately hooked on this book. I love dystopia books and I also love that the main character was a strong female (strong protagonists are often in short supply). Katniss is the provider of her family and strong mentally and physically. It wasn't hard to root for Katniss from the beginning.

I will say however, that parts of this book seemed too easy. Katniss avoids having to make any really difficult decisions during the Hunger Games (I won't be more specific so as not to spoil) but it took away from some of the moral dilemmas and ethical considerations that Katniss had to face which would have added depth to the book. I was looking forward to seeing her wrestling with those decisions based on her strong moral character. (Although perhaps that's due to the book being geared towards Young Adults who knows).

Another aspect of this book that I really loved was the social commentary. Throughout the book we slowly get a glimpse into the future world of North America, the country's history and how it is set up and run. Each district is divided by strict social classes and stratification and in many ways some of the portrayals of the various districts mirror some of our current systemic oppression based on class, race, education etc. The systemic oppression then limits and prevents the ease of upward mobility and access to better opportunities in our own country and in the country created by Collins.

Rating: A+
Overall, it was a fascinating book that I read in a few hours. I immediately wanted to run out and by book #2 Catching Fire (but thus far I've resisted considering the number of books in my TBR pile). If you haven't already ready find this book and read it. It's amazing and you won't be able to put it down. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Musing Mondays: Finding time to read...

Musing Mondays2Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about finding time for reading.
Do you have to carve out time in your day for reading (due to work and other obligations), or does your reading just happen naturally? 

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This question made me laugh a little bit. Reading doesn't just happen naturally around here, it happens when ever I have a spare second from everything else I have going on. With one year old twins and up until Friday being a full time graduate student and now applying for jobs and packing for our cross country move, carving out time for reading is necessary. I read when the babies nap (although it's rare that they nap at the same time).

Occasionally when the babies are awake I'll read a page or two if they're quiet and occupied for a few minutes. I also carry a book with me every where I go in case there's ever any down time. In line with this I go to any appointment about 30 minutes early with the intention of having a few minutes of peace to read. Of course my largest opportunity to read is after the babies go to bed for the evening when I can read for a longer period of time. I'm lucky that I read really quickly so although my reading time is limited I can get through a fairly large volume of books. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In my mailbox (2)...

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox, shopping bag or library acquisitions on a weekly basis. I had another really good book week (which helps make up for a really poor week in other ways). This week I added the following:

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs - This book is from paperback swap and it's not something I would usually read. Which is exactly the point since it's for an online reading challenge where we allow someone with opposite tastes in books to pick something for us outside of our comfort zones. We'll see how it goes.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I bought this book because I've heard a ton of rave reviews and they were right. I read this book in a few hours (a full review coming soon).
Notebooks by Tennessee Williams - I've actually already read this book. It's a collection of all of Williams' personal journals, however the copy I read is from the library which I have to return soon and it was too good. So when a 40% off coupon arrived for Borders I figured it was a sign or something and I ordered the book.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson - This book book was sent to me by a wonderful woman from South Dakota for an on-line book exchange I'm part of. I'm so excited to finally have a chance to read it.
Stone into School by Greg Mortenson - Also sent by the wonderful lady above for the exchange!

The Hardy Boys The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon - This book actually belongs to my one year old daughter. My mother in law sent it too, but since she's too young to blog and we did get it in the mail it still counts.

Total books this week =6  Total cost = $30 for Notebooks and Hunger Games the rest required no money.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

From the Shelves of Eli & Emerson (1): Make Way for Ducklings...

I am occasionally going to write about what I've been reading to my babies as a way to keep track and remember all the books of their childhood. The most appropriate way to start seems to be with Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.

We recently took a trip to Boston to have the babies one year pictures taken and it just so happens that we were taking the pictures in the Boston Public Gardens the setting of this book. In preparation for the trip my Mother-in-law sent the babies their very own copy so they could be ready.

The night before we left Marcus read the babies the story (which is just adorable). I had forgotten how cute this book is.
Marcus reading to the babies.

Once at the park we immediately went searching for the statues and it wasn't hard to find because there were surrounded by little kids. We waited patiently for our opening and stuck our kids next to the statues for a photo op. They had no idea what was going on but they both starting touching the duck, laughing and then Eli started licking it (which totally grossed me out.)

I have to say it's one of the cutest statues I've ever seen.

Checking out a duckling.

Emerson sitting on Mrs. Mallard the mama duck.
Eli sitting on Mrs. Mallard.

It was a great afternoon, and the story is adorable. I know we'll be reading it over and over again with the babies.

(An Ice Cream truck outside the park with a Make Way for Ducklings illustration on it). 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Musing Mondays: second hand book stores...

Musing Mondays2
Do you frequent second hand book stores? Have you ever bought a book home only to find anything interesting within their pages? To see other answers check out Just one more page. The host of this meme. 

I started my book collection many years ago at a used book store. When I was younger my grandparents used to take a grandkid and let them stay by themselves at their house for a week or so. During my week we did lots of different activities that were specific to my interests. By far the best part of that stay was going to their used book store. My grandparents had a ton of credits and they let me pick out as many books as I wanted. (And I picked out 7 John Grisham books which I still have, among others). I was in heaven getting free reign over the books. I remember the bookstore owner kept trying to direct me over to the children's section but I was more interested in Grisham and Stephan King. 

Since that early experience I haven't actually been to a used book store until a few weeks ago, when I discovered a great used bookstore down the street from me (It only took me 3 years of living in this city to discover it). I've also found the goodwill store a great place to find books at really cheap prices. 

Unfortunately I haven't ever found anything exciting in the pages. In fact all that I have ever found is this, 
Not nearly as exciting as money or something. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In my mailbox (1)...

 In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis. I doubt I'll have new books every week (although a girl can dream) but I actually have some new additions from this last week:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. I've been wanting to read this book forever and when I went to find it at the library I discovered it was one of the "lost" books. (Which is such a sad concept, a book just misplaced somewhere amid millions of volumes). So I finally got a copy through paperback swaps yay!

The Best American Nonrequired Reading edited by Dave Eggers. I won this book in a blog giveaway from Lovely Little Shelf. From the back, "The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction."

Fencing The Sky by James Galvin. This book I picked up in the lounge of my graduate school from a box of books marked 'free'. I love this time of year because people always clean out their books and give them away around here. As an added bonus to being free it's in perfect condition and it's signed. 

Do Not Go Gentle by Ann Hood. Also from the box of free books. 

Reckoning with Apocalypse Terminal Politics and Christian Hope by Dale Aukerman (another from the box of free books). The title of this one sounds really strange but the premise sounds really fascinating, although it could go very wrong. I guess we'll see.

Total new books =5 Total cost = $0 (my favorite way to acquire books)