Saturday, March 31, 2007

The promised reviews

I have been a little slow on the reviews lately due to lots of fun memes and a couple not-so-good days this week, so today I decided I would sit down and review a couple of favorites. I am well into Inkheart and Little Town on the Prairie, but not quite close to finishing either one, so I'm going back in time a little and reviewing three of my all-time favorite books. I have selected one children's book, one YA, and one adult novel to review and would love to know your thoughts on the ones you too have read. First up:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
This was the first book I can remember falling in love with as I learned to read back in about 1986 or so. My mother would read this book to me every night before bed and I memorized it, later using that memorization to teach myself to read.
The town of Chewandswallow is like any other town, except for one simple thing. Their weather. The weather changes three times a day: at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each "change" being a different meal raining down from the sky. No ordinary snow or rain for this town! Hamburgers, mashed potatoes, and pancakes were regular occurrences in the Chewandswallow weather system! One day, the weather takes a turn for the worse and the food raining down becomes bigger and bigger until it takes over the town. A pancake covers the school, a pea soup fog rolls in and spaghetti floods the streets. The town must figure out a way to escape this food nightmare and fast!

This is such an entertaining read for children and adults. I still pull my old, battered copy out from time to time to reacquaint myself with Chewandswallow.

Next up:

The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson
This novel is incredibly moving throughout. Young Angel Morgan and her little brother Bernie are scared. Their father is in jail and their mother decides one day to drop them off at their Grandmother's house, one they've never met, and just drive away. Angel and Bernie must learn to adapt in their new home with a woman who seems not to want them, while they try and understand why everyone that loves them leaves.

This is a no doubt a sad story, but an enormously satisfying one at that. The reader gets to watch Angel fall in love with books, reading, and the art of learning astronomy while she builds relationships with the town librarian and "the man who knows the stars."

Cloud Nine by Luanne Rice

Rice is one author that I always seem to love, even though I am not much of a "romance genre" fan. Her characters just seem so real and true to form and her stories just snatch you up and won't let you go. This selection is by far my favorite of hers.

Sarah is a cancer survivor, one who has taken her life back in full force and opened a bedding shop, Cloud Nine. A simple birthday present from friends turns into a match of kindred spirits that form a close bond very quickly. Sarah and Will work together to help each other grow as people, as well as heal from old wounds, all while the unknown future looms ominously over their relationship.

This is a warm and touching story that brought more than a few tears to my eyes as I finished reading it over 5 years ago. Though I haven't had a chance to reread it, I definitely will be putting it back on my TBR list! Even if you aren't a romance fan, as I'm typically not, you should give Luanne Rice's books a try...they may surprise you!
Pretty soon I will have finished with my current reads and will have more current reviews for you. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, March 30, 2007


This upcoming week is "Buy A Friend A Book Week and I found this great activity over at Write From Karen's site and am thrilled to participate. How it works (in short Amanda terms) is that I want to buy one of you a book of your choice (under $15.00) and all you have to do in order to enter is leave a comment on this posting. I will randomly pick a name on April 5th and one of you will be the lucky recipient of a book of your choice! I will post the lucky winner's name by the evening of April 5th. Isn't this FUN?! Yay for free books! If anyone else would like to participate, let me know so I can put my name in your "hat" for a free friend book! This is a great program and I really hope a lot of you will plan on participating. My funds are low right now, but I still want to experience this lovely giving of books. Don't forget to leave your name!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Book Meme time!

So much for reviews, these are waay more fun! I was perusing Deena's lovely blog over at A Peek at My Bookshelf and discovered this fun meme. Apparently she located it at Booking Through Thursday where they do a new meme each Thursday. Check out the meme at either sight, or both! Very cool! The meme for today is:

Where do you do most of your reading? Your favorite spot?
I do most of my reading on my living room couch, with Aaron on one side and my dog Shae on the other. I curl up on the cushions and have my favorite blanket around me even in the summer (air conditioners make the temp. perfect blanket weather). This is the typical spot where I can be found most evenings after work and mornings before work. I also read in bed before I go to sleep, though the reading is very short lived at that point! When I'm in bed my eyes tend to close! That is the time of day that I read a little bit from whatever book Aaron and I are working through together (currently The Five Love Languages).

Though the couch is my "typical spot," I also have a favorite reading spot. I love to read in this little park in Auburn, New least when I was still living there. It's called Hoopes Park, across from one of Auburn's elementary schools and features a lovely duck pond, gazebo and lots of benches, as well as a path for walkers around the entire park. In nice weather I would take a blanket and book and read there until dark. Loved it! I can't wait to move back so I can do that again!

These are fun! I'll look forward to doing one each Thursday! For now, leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can see your answers to the question. This is like Getting to Know You 101 in college..but lots more fun!

Some changes

First of all, a great big THANK YOU goes out to all of you who sympathized with me yesterday. It was just one of those awful days. I have very high hopes that today will be much better! That being said, I've made a few changes to some of my challenge lists and figured I'd better send out an update. Now I know I didn't officially sign up for the 26 New Authors Challenge, I couldn't find a link to do so anywhere, but I saw this challenge happening in a couple of blogs and just started doing it for myself. I figure at the end of the year it will be interesting to have made myself read 26 new authors and I'm already well on my way. I hope I don't make anyone feel like I'm just entering a challenge without signing up, I'm just doing that for me! As for the Spring Reading Thing Challenge, Deena over at A Peek at My Bookshelf made smile yesterday when she stated that she already has made it through a bunch of her list and had to add more. I have the feeling that I will soon end up doing the same thing, so look for more titles added to my list in the near future. I have only completed one so far, but it was a busy week and I didn't have time for much reading, which will hopefully be changing shortly. We also (finally) got a new order in at the library so I know my name will be up for some of those new titles soon. Last but not least, I am planning on switching out one or two of the titles on my Non-Fiction Five Challenge, for the simple reason that there are others I would rather be reading than those I've chosen. We'll see though, I may just end up doing some extra credit. Oh yes, and thank you for the suggestions as to how to do a strikeout, however for some reason that doesn't work for me. The site just tells me "that HTML tag is not allowed." My lovely computer nerd of a fiance had tried that and was stumped. Oh well...just look for the books in bold...those are the ones I've completed. I'll have a couple of reviews tonight, look for them!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's been a long day

Have you ever had a day where you wish you could crawl back into bed and just start over again? After spending my morning with my dog, whose face and legs became mysterious swollen over the course of a couple hours, a vet visit was finally imminent. We discovered that our lively Shae, that just loves being outside, is allergic to bees and had been stung right on her snout. Nice huh? So this poor dog had a nose that she couldn't breath out of and eyes she couldn't see out of, not to mention swollen legs and this constantly confused look on her face. She was a balloon the poor thing. And of course, I'm the overbearing worried "mama" who was distraught all day long trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with her, until the vet finally explained to us what most likely happened and gave her a couple of shots. $80.00 later, the dog is fixed, our bank account now broken.
After all this, I headed off to work and Aaron finally had his appointment with those all important people at the Air Force base that decide our fate. We are trying desperately to find a way to move back to New York or at the very least, be transferred somewhat closer being that we are currently about 2,200 miles away from there. The news wasn't good. Or at least the outlook isn't good. No matter how the man tries to sugarcoat it and tell us to "be positive" his words basically told us we're most likely stuck here for the next 3 years. Yippee. We just keep telling ourselves "God has a plan and He will see us through." Just gotta keep reminding myself of that. It will all work out one way or another. Any extra prayers you have hanging around would be great. :-)
Through all of this, I did manage to make a dent in the books I'm reading for some of the challenges. I'm about 3/4 of the way through Wedding Ring and though not thrilled with it, it's nice, light reading for my messy brain. I still have most of Inkheart to read, but have gotten about halfway through Little Town on the Prairie. Reviews will follow as soon as I get a little more organized. However, being new to this whole blogging experience, I'm not quite sure how to make a strikeout line through the books I've completed for the challenges, so for now, those are in bold. If any of you could make a suggestion as to how to do that, it would be great. Until next time..happy reading to all!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Banned Book #1

Yesterday I finished Book #1 on my Banned Books Challenge list, that book being James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Though I read this book several times as a child, the last time was well over 12 years ago and this reread was just as wonderful as the first time I read it.

Readers can still get lost in the story of James, a young boy sent to live with his two horrible Aunts after his parents are tragically killed. He is beaten, starved, and incredibly unhappy until something magical happens to an ordinary tree in his yard. After a mysterious concoction is given to him (and subsequently spilled on the ground), an enormous peach grows high at the top of this tree, eventually growing large enough that it can house James and his miraculous new friends, the Centipede, Miss Spider, Ladybug, Grasshopper, Gloworm (a lightening bug here in the states), and a silkworm. Working together, this interesting and complex group work together to bring the peach all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, ending up in good ole' New York City.

This story is delightful and the illustrations just as good. After completely the story however, I could not figure out just why this book would be considered one to be challenged or banned. When the trusty Internet gave its answer, I (as most of you will be as you read your Challenge selections) was chuckling to myself over how ridiculous the reasons were. Reason #1: the use of the word "ass." Now, mind you, I wouldn't exactly want my young child reading that and repeating it, but that's where good parenting skills come in. Reason #2: the phrase "I would rather be fried and eaten by a Mexican" is used by the Centipede in the last chapter. Again, good parenting skills would come in here, if the phrase doesn't go completely over the child's head in the first place. Reason #3: Promotion of COMMUNISM!!!!! Where???? I certainly did not see any promotion of communism (or any other -ism for that matter). If you have read this book, please enlighten me as to where this takes place, because it must have been entirely too complex for my adult brain (as it would a child's). I may try and watch the movie version of James this weekend...maybe it will show up there.

I am happy to have finished one of my Challenge books, though it was a JF selection and not one that made me think too hard. I'll move on too something a little more difficult for the next selection. Mr. James and his insect friends get 7 out of 10 Peaches. :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

An excellent learning experience

When I first started reading The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, I figured I would be reading a memoir of a spiritual learning journey taken on by three women who never imagined they would become such close friends. I never thought I would be taken on my own spiritual learning expedition, but that is exactly what happened.
When Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla, a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew, first begin their meetings it is with the purpose of creating a children's book centering on faith and the teachings of different faiths. As their meetings progress the woman have several intense arguments and many complex discussions regarding each other's beliefs in God and stereotypes regarding each other's religions. Though often disagreeing, these women were constantly learning from each other and their families practices and by the end of the book they could each see the changes they had made in each other. This change is shown most prominently when Ranya and Suzanne observe Yom Kippur with Priscilla in the last few pages.
There is a quote that I read from the book while finishing it that I will write down and read every so often. "I've started thinking about religion like college degrees. One person might earn a BA in literature while another earns one in history. They're equally educated, though differently educated. The real test is how they apply knowledge in their lives." It is a reminder that as a Christian woman, my religion is not the only religion in the world. It is what I personally believe and structure my life around, however to others it is not all there is. It is important to learn about the people that we reside in this world with, include each other's religious beliefs and backgrounds and though we may not agree with certain aspects of these beliefs, it is important to understand them and not judge them as wrong.
This book was beautifully written, going back and forth between each woman and her opinions of their Faith Club and of what she is learning about the others. There is also quite a bit of history on all three religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, allowing the reader to learn some basics on the different belief systems. This really was an excellent book and I would recommend it to any person who is questioning his or her faith, simply wanting to know more about other religions, or even non-believers. As a rating, it gets a 9.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I love fun games like this!

Over at Kailana's site, she has made a fun game out of sharing the Top Ten books we simply could not live without. I really had to think about this for awhile, simply because there are tons of books that I deem as fantastic, yet I believe I could live without them. After some narrowing down, I came up with a list that exhibits not only my taste in books, but my love of tragic stories. Of course, there are a few thrown in that aren't tragic, but for the most part, tearjerkers. If you've read these books you know what I mean...either way, I can't live without these:

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
4. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
6. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
7. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
8. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
9. Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
10. Once, I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan

So there you have it. I love books that make me sob hysterically, but have an excellent plot, I love children's books (hence the "Once I Ate a Pie"), and the occasional semi-chick lit book, found in Ahern. I would love to know what you all think of my choices, but be nice! I know some of you are Picoult haters, just don't hate me for loving her! Once again, thanks to Kailana for creating a fun will be great to see your lists!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Reading Thing Challenge

I LOVE challenges and this one from Callapidder Days is no exception! Here is my Spring Reading List, based on books I've been wanting to read but haven't found the time, though I'm sure I'll be find more to add new ones to add soon!

*Revised for the LAST time*

1. The Edge of Winter by Luanne Rice
2. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
3. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
4. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
5. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
6. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
7. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
9. Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards
10. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye
11. The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle
12. The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
13. Family by Karen Kingsbury
14. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
15. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
16. Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
17. The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

I tried adding fun books, YA books, and some serious non-fiction and novels in there. That will A. Par down my TBR list by 10 and B. give a good variety of reviews for all of you!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A few reviews from a bored reader

Well I promised reviews of the books I read while buried in Wedding-ville on my vacation to good old New York, however I'm bring these to you quite bored. The books were boring. The plots were boring, characters boring. All hope would have been lost if not for the final book. It was surprisingly on and let me know what you think, especially if you've read any of these.

First we have Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay. The plot outline is quite brief... tragically, the young son of Rex and Meg is struck and killed by a drunk driver, who happens to be Meg's ex-best friend. The couple is devastated, their only child now dead, and decide to spend the rest of their days on a boat, puttering around the Bahamas, Tobago, etc. They leave everything and everyone behind, including their grief and the fact that they ever even had a son, out of all conversations. The characters are incredibly flat and at times frustrating. The entire story line is ridiculous and the end of the story left me wanting to throw the book at a wall. This book was 280 pages I can never get back. Out of 10...a 2.

Next, The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. This was definitely a light read and not horrible in the least, it simply didn't do for me what I was looking for. I love books about knitting and quilting (though I still don't know how to do either), but unfortunately in those subject areas, the books end up being a bit too sappy. This one was no exception. Georgia Walker is raising her little girl Dakota all by herself, while running her knitting shop Walker & Daughter. The story focuses on Georgia and Dakota getting used to having Dakota's father back in their lives, as well as on several other women, each working through an intense issue of her own. They help each other deal with their lives by meeting each Friday Night to work on knitting, eat Dakota's baking creations, and chat. Jacobs did a decent job of making each character complex and unique, but her ending was ridiculous. Out of 10, this book gets a 5. It would get a 7 if the ending was different.

Finally, the only book I truly enjoyed was Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer. This is labeled as a Christian fiction book and is definitely geared more towards women than men. Mike Brannigan, a tough construction worker, loses his job after an accident. Much to his dismay, he becomes a stay-at-home dad to his children, one of which needs extensive care, and myriad of animals. While dealing with day to day problems that arise out of his new "career" Mike learns he has talent in photography. Though nothing is spectacular about this novel its characters are very engaging and the plot keeps you reading. So much so that it was hard to believe a man wrote this story. My favorite character was The Man With No Hands and all the good he does for each of the other characters. This is a quick read, not to mention very "light" but it really was worth my time. Out of 1o, this book gets a 7.5.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Back in Sunny New Mexico

Well after a week of wedding planning and visiting, I need a whole new vacation! We certainly got a lot accomplished in a very short 7 days, but we weren't able to visit with everyone we wanted to, nor were we able to relax. It is a nice consolation to know that we will be back in May for our wedding and then we will have the opportunity to see everyone...not to mention have a great big party!

As for reading, I didn't get a whole lot done (no surprise there). I read on the long drive to the Tucson airport, finishing Summer of Light by W. dale Cramer, then again on the plane ride to NY finishing The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, and finally on the plane ride home, finishing Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay and Ever After by Karen Kingsbury. Unfortunately I cannot say that I really enjoyed any of them. Knowing that I would be busy in NY and my only time to read would be en route, I chose very light reading, women's fiction for those times. Ansay's book was incredibly boring and both Kingsbury and Jacobs produced books that were a little too sappy for my liking. If you're gonna do tragedy, do tragedy, don't soften it up! The only really likable book was Cramer's, that being quite unexpected. It was a bit of women's fiction/christian fiction, but written from a man's perspective. Not quite Charles Martin, but pretty decent all the same.

I plan to get into some meatier selections this week, including Gatsby (for the 4th time) and some other classics. I am also going to try and work on this Banned Book Challenge and get some FINALLY break into my new Jodi Picoult book. For those of you who read closely, you'll know she's my favorite author and since she only publishes once a year, I savor her books as long as possible! It's great to be back...look for a review post tonight or tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Into the cold I go...

We're leaving for New York today, so I may be lacking in posts for awhile. Hopefully I'll get a lot of reading done and have good reviews for everyone next week. Wish me luck in wedding planning!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Give me an "L"

About a week ago, I found this meme on Heather's's one of those fun "get-to-know-you" memes that will probably teach you more about me than you all care to know, however it's fun for me to do! All I had to do was request a letter and once received, I tell you all 10 things I love that start with that letter. I was handed an "L," so here are my 10 items I just love, all beginning with L, in no particular order.

1. Literature: well, yeah, that's kind of a given. However, I do have to say that I wasn't always in love with literature, I was more of a "quick read" gal. Over the past few years I have come to appreciate and truly love a good piece of literature, a feat I'm sure all of you can agree with me on.

2. Lindt Chocolate Truffles: For the male readers that I have, if any, they are probably all saying "typical woman." Well, yes, I am certainly typical in that sense. I love chocolate, all kinds except white, and truffles are my favorite. If you're going to have a truffle, might as well be a nice, fancy one from Lindt. They melt in your mouth and are just SO good!

3. Lilacs: Nothing says spring to me like the smell of lilacs in the backyard. This is my first year being in New Mexico, where lilacs just don't grow and I know that I will miss that smell so much come May. Every night at dusk my mother would cut a few lilac stalks off the tree and bring them into the house, making everything smell like spring...that will always be one of my favorite memories.

4. Lighthouses: I have no idea where my fascination of lighthouses began, but I just love them. They are so beautiful, yet so useful. I have seen most in Florida, most in Maine, and a bunch in Oregon and California, though I still have hundreds in the US that I have yet to visit. My favorite one so far is Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon. It is just breathtaking, especially at sunset.

5. Libraries: Someone put it very nicely in their blog the other day when they said it's like a toy store for kids where they can pick out as many toys as they want for free. Libraries are just like that for book lovers. So many choices, all free! Whenever I am traveling, I make it a point to stop in the library in whatever town I am in.

6. Lemon Bars: Between these and the Lindt truffles, can you tell I have a major sweet tooth? I love lemon bars, especially those with whipped cream on top, though these are a treat I can only have a few bites of before the richness sets in.

7. Ladies-Night-Out: I have been best friends with the same group of girls since middle school and now, being that I'm in NM, one is in Alabama, another in Pennsylvania, and the last still in New York, our ladies nights out are even more special. We congregate together once a year or so, have a few drinks and some food and laugh the night away. We love each other like sisters and we have such a blast together!

8. Little Pea: This is probably one of my all-time favorite children's books. I just did a review of it a few days ago and I have it on order for my own personal collection. It is one selection I cannot wait to read to my own children one day.

9. "Life is Beautiful": My absolute favorite movie. For those of you who have not seen it, it is the story of a Jewish man, placed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. His young son is with him and in order to prevent his son from being frightened, the man makes the entire experience into a game. It is a beautiful story, though it is in Italian, so subtitle reading is necessary (but completely worth it).

10. Love: call me a sappy romantic, but I love love! I have been with my fiance for a very long time and it just gets better every, single day. Everyone has always said that once you get used to each other, the "honeymoon period" ends. Well, that has never happened to us, even after 7 years, and I just am completely blessed at what I have been given in terms of love. I am sooo looking forward to May 12th when I can actually become a wife instead of just a fiancee!

Well, there you have it! These memes are fun and really do help us get to know each other! I will continue the game, which Heather began, so if you would like a letter, let me know and I'll give you one!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Kid's Book Review Day

I have read a variety of excellent children's books lately and it's time for a review or two! First, Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia and Emily MacLachlan was probably the cutest picture book I've read in awhile. 13 very different, but very adorable dogs explain what their lives are like being dogs on a daily basis. Everyone who owns a dog can compare their own to one of the animals pictured in this book. My pit/terrier, Shae, definitely compares to "Wupsie" the "I'm cute, I'm cute" dog. The pictures in this book are amazing, leaving me wanting a print of each to hang in my house. Between that and the actually dogs, this is a must have for my own bookshelf. We've all passed it around between the staff at the library and all the adults love it as much as the children.

Next is Our Tree Named Steve by Allen Zweibel. This, unlike the first book, is not brand new, and just happens to already be one of my favorite children's books. I just now placed the order to actually buy it for my library at home, after reading it over and over again the past couple of years. This story is about a family that builds their house right next to a huge tree that they eventually name Steve. Steve stands next to their house for years, as the family grows and changes, always being loving and protective. It is a very sweet story, yet unique, having been written about a caring tree, rather than a person. The children in our library love this book, as do the adults. It's beautifully written and the pictures are very well done.

Reading children's books as often as I do as gotten me various comments from family members and friends that just don't understand what I see in them. Being that I do not have children quite yet, no one really understands why I would bother with picture books at this time in my life. I know most of you understand very well what I find in these books and I love that I'm not alone in my love of children's books.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

I caught myself a good one...

I am not typically a "book buyer," though I certainly would love to be. I purchase books by authors that I love or books that I have previously read and just had to have for my own collection. My very meager salary does not normally allow me to buy whatever is on my TBR list, with the hopes that I will like it, however, I do have something called a "fantastic fiance" that loves to buy things for me, most recently choosing books. He never used to buy me books, always afraid of getting something I've read and not liked, no matter how many times I've insisted that a book he has chosen would be the most thoughtful and special gift he could give me, resulting in a lack of book gifts over the last six years or so. This past Friday however, we made the hour and a half trip into El Paso in order to pick up my wedding dress (no worries, he didn't see a thing) due to the fact that we are flying home to New York next week and I need to take the dress with me for those all important alterations (namely the foot they need to take off the bottom to accommodate my short height). I was already in a fantastic mood, being that I now had possession of this very expensive garment that I will proceed to wear for a total of 6 hours or so, not to mention we were having dinner at P.F. Chang's our all-time favorite restaurant. While we were waiting for our dinner reservation time, we just happened to be browsing in the bookstore (no "happening" about it, it's my favorite place besides the library) and Aaron (the fiance), just made my night when he told me I could pick out a book and he would buy it for me, a very big deal, being that we've been VERY money deprived since this whole wedding deal came about. I couldn't choose between two, so he just bought me both. I love that guy! I have been blessed with a man that doesn't mind buying books instead of lingerie and loves that my bookshelves at home are overflowing with things that he has nothing to do with. He is so great and I really am lucky to be marrying him (of course for reasons other than book buying). Unfortunately, now my "plane ride" books have just increased by two, already being some 10 deep, but I'm sure I will find time to fit in my newbies. I'll let ya'll know how The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle and Blue Water by A. Mannette Ansay are.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The best book I've ever read...

I have read a lot of good books, a lot of great books even, but never have I come across a book that has affected me quite like this one has. I finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on Friday night, sobbing, after reading the 500+ page book in about a day. I could not stop reading this book. Zusak tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl, growing up in Nazi Germany. The entire book is narrated by Death, which gives the reader a clue that this book certainly is not going to be a happy, cheerful one in the least, but surprisingly, Death does a great job as the Narrator. We meet Liesel as she is on her way to a foster family, her mother no longer able to care for her and her younger brother in times of extreme poverty and sickness. Within the first five pages, her younger brother dies right in front of her. This is just the beginning of the horror and tragedy that Liesel will endure through this novel. We get to see Liesel learn to to love words and view books as treasures only granted to those worthy enough to hold them. We see an intense love of family, friendship, and normalcy. Most importantly, we get to view the extreme ruthlessness of the Nazi world through the eyes of a child expected to be a Nazi herself. Rarely do we get that in books. This is a true gem...I have never read anything better. I would recommend every single one of you read this book, it was completely magical.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Banned Books Challenge

This will be my first challenge as a new blogger and I'm excited to participate! I love being challenged to read books, especially those I may not read otherwise. I really would have loved to get in on the Classics Challenge, due to the definitive lack of Classics reading I do (um... none), but I was a little late for that, so that classics will have to wait until 2008. As for this challenge, I quickly signed up to read five. Though that seems low, I have so many other things I want to read that I felt throwing five extra in there wouldn't hurt too much, but would be a good mind stimulator. For those of you that read my 100 Book Meme, you will see that I loathe the book The Great Gatsby, yet I've placed it on my challenge list. I figure, I've read it three times and simply couldn't bring myself to like it, yet I can't give you a single reason why. I just don't like it. Maybe, by reading it from the perspective of someone trying to figure out what was so wrong with the plot that it had to be challenged and banned from many schools, I may like it a little bit better. I will certainly let you know. I can't wait to see what other people decide to read for this challenge!