Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (4/5)
Arts, Entertainment, and Christian Values by Kerby Anderson (3/5)
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb (3/5)
The Smoking Gun's Book of Lists (3/5)
Sexy by Joyce Carol Oates (1/5)
New Times In The Old South (3/5)
Voices from S-21 (2/5)
The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Anderson (4/5)
Museum of Bad Art by Marc Frank (4/5)
Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs (3/5)
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout (3/5)
11 total books read this month, 3676 pages this month
46 total books read this year, 12,758 pages this year
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
My love of all things Southern is no secret, so it pretty much directly follows that Mary Kay Andrews would be my favorite chick lit author of all time. In an impressive show of control, I spent four long months on the wait list for this book at the library and of course finished it almost overnight. The book is about GA, so what can I say? Ms. Andrews even states in an interview at http://www.bookreporter.com/ that her inspiration for the town of Guthrie was Griffin, GA! I have family in Griffin and I'm very familiar with the area. I wasn't quite as excited about that though, as I was when I found out that the author has an entire book set on Tybee Island. I grew up spending summers on Tybee and my family owns property on the island. Getting to read references to Fannies on the Beach was pretty much the highlight of my reading career. (Definitely check out Ms. Andrews' books Savannah Blues and Savannah Breeze to read some awesome chick lit centered in my childhood stomping ground).
I'm not typically a chick lit fan, but I can't get enough of Mary Kay Andrews and The Fixer Upper was no different. Hilarious, sweet, charming, full of lovable, quirky characters and, although the plot can veer into the outrageous, the characters are always believable. I'm also almost never a fan of author's using dialect because so many do it so poorly, but Ms. Andrews is the exception to this rule. Ella Kate's voice was completely spot on - not only could I hear Ella Kate in my mind, I could identify her with some women I know - and some I'm related to! Andrews does an excellent job of writing a Southern voice without sounding like she's writing what she thinks a Southern voice sounds like.
I love it, I give it 5 stars for fun chick lit, and I recommend it to everyone who enjoys Southern humor or Southern fiction, or a really good chick lit read.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Sexy by Joyce Carol Oates - a solid 1/5 stars. I really, really hated it and if it hadn't been the easiest read ever I probably wouldn't have finished.
Voices from S-21:Terror and History In Pol Pot's Secret Prison - 3/5. A hard read, very dry, but something I knew nothing about, so very informative. I'm really trying to teach myself more about contemporary history and this book taught me a lot about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, but I feel like I would have understood more if I had known more of the country's history before I started.
New Times In The Old South - 3/5. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Fairly generic Southern humor, and certainly not the best there is out there. I consider myself a connoiseur of Southern humor, and with all the hilarious books out there I probably wouldn't recommend this one unless, like me, you are the person who reads them all.
What I Bought:
100 Most Infamous Criminal Cases (for the school)
Best American Short Stories '91, '94, '95
Best American Short Stories of the Century
Best American Non-Required Reading 2001
The Thorn of Lion CityIt Was A Dark and Stormy Night: The Best (?) From the Bulwer-Lytton Contest
Up The Down Staircase
On The Street Where You Live
The Last Summer (of You and Me)
The Safety of Objects
While I Was Gone
When the Emperor Was Divine
I Was Told There'd Be Cake
Under the Tuscan Sun
Mysteries of the Unexplained
Sex Lives of Cannibals
The Literary Cat
I Hate Other People's Kids
Total cost: $42
I've had something of a bad week and since I'm on a diet, I binged on books instead of chocolate.
Don't forget my contest is still going on - check out the post below to enter!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
YA Grab bag:
Book Crush and two surprise YA books (good ones I promise!)
Travel Grab bag:
Eat, Pray, Love and Travelling with Pomegranates and a third surprise travel-related book!
All you have to do is leave a comment with your name and the grab bag you'd like to win!!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Check out the book at http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601422705&ref=externallink_mlt_starthere_sec_0127_01
And the winner is....my favorite neighbor, Bradley! I'll send you a Twitter and see when is a good time to bring it over - or I can drop it off at the church - or I can stick it in my mailbox - or I can stick it in your mailbox. How convenient! Tomorrow I'll post for my actual March giveaway and you can choose between a travel grab bag and a YA grab bag!
Book was provided for my review by the publisher.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
My first group of students, all grown up!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Ok, the book was entertaining and I enjoyed it through about the 600th page. At that point it started to fall apart for me. The writing wasn't bad and I was interested in the plot, but the different plot spinoffs were just too much for me. It was like he tried to fit every possible "relevant" issue into the book. Here's just a sampling of some themes explored (look away if you haven't read the book!):
Mental illness (schizophrenia)
Horrific chid abuse
Domestic abuse (towards pretty much every woman in the book at some point)
Murder of a husband by his wife and her lesbian lover
Fugitives from the law
Two amputations (one performed voluntarily by the amputee)
Attempted murder of a child by a parent
Potential incest (finally disproved at the end)
Regulary pornography with an unwilling subject
Regular rape of multiple people
Daddy and mommy issues
Politics (local, national, and international)
Insinuated though never proven bestiality (man with monkey)
And my personal favorite: a woman who is living with her boyfriend but allows her other lover (who also happens to be her half-uncle) secretly watch them having sex from her closet.
By the end of the book I was just thinking "seriously?" As I was reading whenever I got to a new issue I'd tell Luke. By the end of the book we were both cracking up. And this is all about ONE PERSON's family. Sure it covers a grandfather, stepfather, and twin sons, but holy moly. I really think I would have enjoyed the book more had the author cut out a few hundred pages of side issues. Or even left the book the same length and chosen just a few issues to explore. Like do we really really need the whole side plot with the live in girlfriend who happens to be cheating with her step uncle and gets pregnant with his baby but then it turns out he's gay and gave her AIDS? Really? What did that add?
Although I guess it did help the end wrap up nicely, with the main character and his ex-wife falling back in love and getting the have a child since their child had died. I'm not making this up. Do I recommend the book...hm...I'm not really sure. There were parts that were laughable and unbelievable (LOTS) but all the drama was entertaining. If you don't mind reading a book that is reminiscent of a soap opera, this book is for you.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
A. YA grab-bag: Book Crush by Nancy Pearl and a book featured in Book Crush
B. Travel grab-bag: Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I'll announce the contest next week!
Update: I had another idea - why don't I just let the winner choose which grab bag they want? Ok be watching next week for my giveaway post to enter!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
The Dog Dialed 911: A Book of Lists From the Smoking Gun
Defining Moments in Books
Book by Book
Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady
Southern Ladies and Gentlemen
Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas (for the school library)
The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death
I Love You Ronnie (a gift for my sister)
Everybody in the Pool
Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler
Total Cost: $30
The Book Thief
Arts, Entertainment, and Christian Culture
I want to say I finished I Know This Much Is True, but I still haven't.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Question 1: Where were you 5 years ago?
Let's see - halfway through my junior year of college (seriously? it doesn't seem that long!), had been dating Luke for about 3 months, and spent a month living on my parents couch with mono.
Question 2: What is(was) on your to-do list today?
I'll answer for tomorrow, since my to-do list today contained nothing
1. Finish mailing graduation invitations
2. Mail CDs to my elf, book to my blog winner, and book cds
3. Order cake for graduation
4. Finish homework that is already late
5. Go with my bestie to look at flowers for her wedding
Question 3: What five snacks do you enjoy?
2. Kraft 100 calorie cheese packets
3. dry Cheerios
Question 4: What five places have you lived?
1. Chattanooga, TN
2. Little Rock, AR
3. Arkadelphia, AR
4. Roanoke Rapids, NC
5. Salisbury, NC
Question 5: What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Buy a house
2. Fill a room in the house with built-in book cases
3. Pay off student loans
4. Tithe to the church and give to Voice of the Martyrs, Campus Crusade, and Feminists for Life
Also, thanks to Alee at Love Is for the Sunshine Award - take a look at my sidebar to see it! Now for the fun part - my nominees for Sunshine Award/Tag game:
Ashley T at That's Life
Courtney at ...and that's more than everything
Angie Eats Peace
Monday, March 1, 2010
When I originally heard that the story if narrated by Death, I worried that it was merely a plot contrivance that the author was using to do something "different". If there is one thing I can't stand it's an author who writes something that is obviously trying to be "different" or "edgy". But Zusak managed to pull it off well. The narration felt natural and Death made for a believable and sympathetic character. It worked well with the book and never felt like the author was using a device just for the sake of using it.
Another aspect of the book I appreciated was the German setting. Most of the books I've read surrounding World War II that include Germany show the rise of Nazism, the nationalism, the propaganda, and the way the German people were led into Hitler's web of genocide. This book showed a different side of the German people, the every day people, who were wounded by the war and lost loved ones for reasons they didn't understand.
For me, The Book Thief ranks with The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom for absolutely breath-taking and heart-breaking beauty and grief. Have you read it? What did you think?