Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Monday What are you Reading?

Sheila hosts It's Monday What are you Reading?

Last week I read True Believer by Virginia Wolff and The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  I continued reading in Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson.  Non-fiction tends to take me longer to read than fiction.  Speaking of non-fiction, I lost my copy of Bringing up Boys!  Aah!  So I guess I'll finish it when I find it!  In regards to The Last Summer (of You and Me), I tried to read it, I did.  I got to page 30, and I gave up.  It was so disappointing compared to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

This week I plan on finishing Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson and reading Three Cups of Tea (The Young Reader's Edition) by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.


Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

It's Monday What are you Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  This is my first time participating!

What I Read Last Week:
Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Books for This Week:
True Believer by Virginia Wolff

The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares
(My sister and I are going to read it together.)

Bringing up Boys by Dr. Dobson  (Must finish it!)

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


If you haven't read it, go get it today!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I picked it and Catching Fire up from the library to skim and scan as a review before Mockingjay is released. And then I was hooked...again.

Suzanne Collins is doing an amazing job with this series! The suspense is superb. The romance is precious... and confusing. (I don't want to spoil anything for newbies.) This dystopian series is fabulous. You will not be able to stop reading this one. Even the second time around, I was up past midnight twice, unable to put it down. Did I mention I like it???

Connection Time: Have you seen the movie Gladiator? The similarities between that movie and this book are incredible. I read The Hunger Games before I saw Gladiator (I know, I know, it's an old movie), and as I watched the movie, I was shocked as I compared the two "arenas." Wow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff

I LITERALLY laughed out loud while reading this book. My sister lent it to me from the shelves of her music pastor husband. I read it aloud to her while she highlighted my hair. So basically I read this book aloud for 2 hours. The time flew by, and we were both laughing. At times she couldn't understand me because I was laughing so hard while trying to read it to her.

Here are a few specific satire sections that cracked me up: "Guide to Food Prayers" (Should you pray before eating a Snickers?), the intro to the "My Bad" section (where he throws his pastor friend under the bus for seeing an R-rated movie), "Finding Typos in the Worship Music" (You know you've done it!), "The Good Morning Flow Chart," and "Putting the devil 'On Notice'" (a new expression to me, but written about with such wit).

If you are a Christian who wants to laugh out loud, then I highly recommend this book!

Want to know more about the book? Read below or check out Jonathan Acuff's website

Author Jonathan Acuff uses satire, not mockery, to "clear away the clutter of Christianity so we can see the beauty of Christ." Here is the full quote from the article he wrote for Relevant Magazine:
Mockery is not the same thing as satire. Mockery always has a victim. Satire doesn’t. Mockery is about wounding someone and leaving a bruise. Satire isn’t that way at all. I define satire as “humor with a purpose.” My purpose is to clear away the clutter of Christianity so we can see the beauty of Christ. I do that with satire, which is a tremendous vehicle for truth. It’s like a big mirror: You take an issue and you blow it up so it’s big enough and obvious enough for everyone to see. Then you stand next to it and ask: “Is that us? Are we OK with that? Is this what it means to be the Church?” The other big difference is that God hates mockery. Satire? I feel He actually exhibits a bit of satire in the Bible. In Psalm 1:1, we’re told “Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers” (TNIV). Do you see that? Mockers are related to the wicked. But satire gets a shoutout. In Numbers 11:23, God says to Moses: “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” I don’t speak Hebrew, but I can’t believe God was asking Moses the length of His arm because He didn’t know. I think He was satirically pointing out to Moses that He could take care of him.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finishing Bloggiesta

The party is over.... and I'm tired!

Goals I accomplished:
1. Write book review for Undercover.
2. Write book review for The Great Gatsby.
3. Write post about 2-day reads.
5. Mini challenge on There's a Book about using stats on your blog.
6. Politely and kindly ask an author for an interview.
7. Make a list of the books I've read in the last year.
8. Update "about me" with genres I like to read
9. Finish reading Jumping off Swings. (I don't know if Natasha counts this as part of Bloggiesta. Anyone know?)
Extras I accomplished:
1. Added my first widget!
2. Found many new book blogs to follow
3. Connected with other book bloggers
4. Wrote book review for Jumping Off Swings.
5. Completed the mini challenge on community (leave comments on new-to-you blogs)
6. Ate Mexican for lunch on Saturday

What I didn't Accomplish/For Another Day:
1. Write post on being a Daniel reader
2. Ask second author for an interview/book giveaway for her upcoming book release.

Time Spent:
9.5 hours (My husband misses me.)

I had a fabulous time!


Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Jumping Off Swings tells a story of a teenage pregnancy from four different character's perspectives. We hear from the pregnant Ellie, the father Josh, and their best friends Corinne and Caleb. It's a good book for an adult book club because it can foster much discussion on topics from pregnancy to parenting. (Some of the parenting in this book is awful.)

The worst thing about this book is the language. Wow. Inappropriate language is used throughout the book. Everything from the F-bomb (multiple, multiple times) to sexual innuendos are present. I had chosen this book for my YA Book Club, but changed it since there is an actual young adult in our group, and I don't think it's an appropriate read.

It's another melancholy read. I wish Ellie had had more love and support around her through her crisis.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

2-Day Reads

As I mentioned in my first post, I have never finished a book in less than 2 days. You may be assuming that I'm a slow reader, and this my friends, is true! I have accepted it.

Another correct assumption is that if I finished a book in 2 days, I really liked it!

My 2-day Reads (that I can remember... I didn't keep stats on this stuff until recently)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Cracker Jackson by Betsy Byars
Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn
Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

What books have you read the fastest?


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is an American classic written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is a novel written in the 1920s about the 1920s. It explores topics such as money, the American Dream, dishonesty, and goals. Jay Gatsby is a millionaire who throws extravagant parties in New York. His neighbor, Nick, is our narrator who reveals the story of Jay Gatsby: his background, his dreams, his friends, his life. It is a classic, romance, and mystery. It's one of the best classics I've read, and I recommend it.

Two of my close friends read it after I recommended it, and they had identical responses: "Why did you like this? It's all about affairs." Yes, characters cheat on their spouses; however, sex is merely mentioned and never detailed. It's by NO MEANS a Harlequin romance! There are many only aspects to the books other than sex too. The biggest reason I like it is because of the mystery surrounding Gatsby and the events at the end. (Maybe I should read more mysteries?) The characters are immoral, but the author shows that their actions cause negative effects on their lives and the lives of others.

P.S. The movie does a wonderful job of portraying the novel. I recommend it as well!


Bloggiesta Update

I am loving Bloggiesta! It's my first one, and it's oh so fun. Thank you Natasha.

Here are a few things that have been happening in my house this weekend:
1) On Friday, my husband looked at me flabbergasted every time I said the word bloggiesta.
2) We went to a pool as a family and enjoyed the hot summer day (not technically summer, I know).
3)Today, my husband finally asked me what a bloggiesta is and listened patiently as I explained it.
4) We ate Little Caesars Pizza for supper since I realized at 4:30 pm that I had not even THOUGHT about what we would eat. Oops.

Bloggiesta is great fun! But note to self: next time, put dinner in the crockpot.

Happy Bloggiesta Fellow Bloggers!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Undercover by Beth Kephart

I recently read Beth Kephart's first young adult novel Undercover. It is a story about a young high school girl, Elisa. She is gifted poetically, a talent that boys notice and use to their advantage. Elisa writes notes for them to use in courting the girl of their choice. (I found it interesting that there was no mention of payment for these poetic love notes. Are we supposed to believe that Elisa helped all these lovesick boys for free?) Along the way she falls for a boy that she is helping. She spends the winter pining after this boy, teaching herself to ice skate, observing nature, and lamenting her parents' failing marriage.

As I have seen mentioned on other blogs, and I will post it as well: do not read the inside jacket summary. It gives away too much of the story.

This book contains a beautiful passage that I will share with you:
And he said that there were two kinds of chances you take in life, and that I had chosen one. You can love not enough, he said, or you can love too much, and when you love too much, you risk everything, but you also enter into a thing called beauty. (Kephart, Beth. Undercover. New York: HarperTeen, 2007.)
This passage struck me personally, and I am thankful for it.

However, the book as a whole let me down. It was too melancholy for my taste. Elisa has no friends, her parent's marriage is failing, her sister doesn't acknowledge her at school, her mom is distanced, etc. etc. Maybe it's because I just read Thirteen Reasons Why, but I thought, This girl could be suicidal. But don't worry, she's not!

I was disappointed to see Elisa judge her classmate on his large nose. She really dislikes this boy because of his large nose and obnoxious behavior. Maybe she should wonder if he is using his behavior to distract from his nose. Like Cyrano de Bergerac used humor to distract from his large nose (an important part of the story). Also, Elisa has a deformed earlobe that she is embarrassed of and hides under her hair. Her classmate can't hide his nose as easily, so why is she so hypocritical?

I have written a novel, I see. Here is one last thought about the book's content. I was disappointed at the use and heavy implication of Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese." The author (and hence Elisa's teacher who gives it to Elisa) advises the reader to forget religion and become like an animal to be able to fully engage in and enjoy life.


I am participating in the Bloggiesta hosted by Maw Books. It is a weekend set aside (or making time in the midst of other things) to work on improving your blog. Better blog, here I come!
As for my goals, I am compiling them in my mind as I type. I may add more later. (Orange tasks are done.)
1. Write book review for Undercover.
2. Write book review for The Great Gatsby.
3. Write post about 2-day reads.
4. Write post about being a Daniel reader.
5. Complete the mini challenge on There's a Book about using stats on your blog.
6. Politely and kindly ask an author for an interview.
7. Make a list of the books I've read in the last year.
8. Update "about me" with genres I like to read
9. Finish reading Jumping off Swings. (I don't know if Natasha counts this as part of Bloggiesta. Anyone know?)
10. Politely and kindly ask second author for an interview/book giveaway for her upcoming release.

Let the party begin!